June 21, 2024

By this time, while former Benguet vice governor Nelson Dangwa is contemplating on his future in politics to continue the legacy of his late father, former governor and Rep. Samuel M. Dangwa, a measure has been filed or about to be filed at the House of Representatives by Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Reps. Joey Sorte Salceda, Edcel C. Lagman, and other members of the Lower House to include hopefully all the Cordilllera solons entitled, “A resolution calling for a special election in the province of Benguet to fill in the vacancy for the lone congressional district caused by the untimely demise of Rep. Nestor B. Fongwan, Sr. and appropriating funds therefor.”
The resolution recalls that during the Jan. 13 session, House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano formally declared a vacancy in the lone congressional district of Benguet. In the interregnum, Cayetano has appointed Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap of ACT-CIS as legislative caretaker for Benguet. The appointment is not a bar to the holding of a special election. A vacancy has been declared by the House Speaker. February is not within the prohibited period set by law and Congress is not in recess, so all the requirements in Republic Act 6645 are present and the time is ripe for the conduct of a special elections in Benguet.
The resolution stated that while the people of the province of Benguet appreciate the appointment of a caretaker congressman to cater to their needs, there is no substitute of allowing the electorate to have their own congressman with a clear mandate from its people and that the sentiment for a special election has been manifested by resolutions of the provincial government of Benguet, which was unanimously approved by the different municipalities of Benguet including its capital town La Trinidad, various non-government organizations including the Federation of Parents-Teachers Association of Mankayan, and others. That ultimately, the reasonableness of the request and call for a special election is a valid exercise of people power which Congress by itself as a democratic institution can affirmatively respond to.
It calls on the House of Representatives to direct the Commission on Elections to hold a special election in Benguet to fill in the vacancy caused by the demise of Rep. Fongwan not later than the third Monday of May.
It proposes the allocation of P50,000,000 from the savings of Comelec for the conduct of the special elections.
Ultimately, it rests on the powers that be to heed the call. Sigh!