Pedro Acharon Jr. eyes 4th term as House member

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 August) – Former South Cotabato first district Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. is considering running for the city’s newly-created lone legislative district seat in the Oct. 26 special elections, a move that could give him an unprecedented fourth straight term in the House of Representatives.

Acharon, who completed his third term last June, said on Thursday he is seriously contemplating on making another congressional run in the wake of the reconfiguration early this year of the province’s first district.

The elections last May for the first district representative of South Cotabato was suspended by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) due to its reorganization into two districts as provided for in Republic Act 11243, An Act Reapportioning the First Legislative District of the Province of South Cotabato.

The law carved out the city from the first district of South Cotabato and created it as the province’s third district. The municipalities of Tampakan, Polomolok and Tupi now comprise the first district.

The former lawmaker, who authored the new law, is being pushed by his local political party Achievers with Integrity Movement (AIM) as official candidate for the third district post.

He said he is currently evaluating the situation and noted that he needs to take in  some considerations, especially on the possible legal questions.

“For me, this will be a good test case because it is a new situation,” he said in an interview over Brigada News FM here.

Acharon said it will be the first of its kind in the current political situation and “maybe it might be a good thing to debate.”

The AIM party, which is allied with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, fielded former City Councilor Arturo Cloma for the cancelled elections for the first district of South Cotabato.

He faced then outgoing Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles of Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao’s People’s Champ Movement (PCM) and independents Menchie Dinopol-Cataluna and Abelardo Plaza.

Nograles, who has signified to run anew in the special elections, received the most number votes but these were declared stray by Comelec due to the poll suspension.

City Councilor Franklin Gacal, a PCM stalwart, said Acharon is barred from running for the post based on the three-term limit set in Section 7, Article 6 of the 1987 Constitution.

In provides that “The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.”

“While it may be true that GenSan is a new and distinct legislative district, the 1987 Constitution is clear on the issue,” he said in a Facebook comment.

Lawyer April Mitchor-Miguel, city election officer, said she is aware of the issue but cited that they consider it as mere speculation since the aspirants have not yet filed their certificates of candidacy (COC).

The filing of COCs is scheduled on Aug. 26 to 28 at the city election office and the Comelec provincial office in Koronadal City.

“Let’s cross the bridge when we get there. We will know the answers to that after the filing of the COCs,” she said. (MindaNews)