Issue of September 1, 2019
Mt. Province
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Dads seek immediate filling up of vacancy at Benguet SP
by Karlston Lapniten

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A month after the demise of one of its members, the sangguniang panlalawigan members are seeking the immediate completion of the lawmaking body.

Through a resolution passed on Aug. 19, the legislative body informed the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Commission on Elections, and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of the need to fill the vacancy created by the death of board member Apolinario Camsol.

Camsol, a member of the PDP-Laban, died while undergoing treatment for an ailment at a hospital in Baguio City on July 25. He was 70.

The former town mayor of Buguias, Camsol was elected as board member of Benguet’s second district from 2004 to 2013. He was elected on the same position in 2016 and again on the recent May polls.

Vice Gov. Johnny Waguis said filling-up the vacant post will optimize the capacity of the 11-man legislative body and hasten their functions, especially on the review of ordinances and resolutions.

Section 45 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code provides that permanent vacancies in the provincial board will be filled up through appointment by the President, through the Executive Secretary.

However, the appointee shall come from the same political party as that of the sanggunian member who caused the vacancy and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office.

There are still no applications for nomination from PDP-Laban members in Benguet as of Aug. 26, according to Waguis, also a member of the party.

Waguis added that interested politicians need endorsement for nominations from the party provincial chairman, Rep. Nestor Fongwan Sr.

Certificate of membership and official nomination signed by highest official of the political party, President Rodrigo Duterte, are requisites for appointment.

“There are some persons who are expressing intention but they need to be definite and formally write our chairman (Fongwan),” Waguis said.

In most cases in the Cordillera, the vacancies created by death of a politician are assumed by their relatives.

Among the recent cases is when Liberal Party’s Christopher Kiat-ong served the remaining term of his father, Alfonso Kiat-ong, who died while on his third term as board member of Mountain Province on April 2018.

Also in Kalinga, Jaedicke Rhoss Dagadag was appointed to replace his father, Rhustom, who died in Aug. 2017.

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