House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Tuesday said that ousted Northern Samar Rep. Harlin Abayon could regain his congressional seat once the Supreme Court furnish them a copy of the temporary restraining order stopping Abayon’s political rival from assuming the post.
Belmonte said Abayon could still be a congressman up to June 30, 2016 as soon as he is able to take his oath of office with the SC ruling.
“Yes, [he can still regain his congressional seat] once we are able to receive the SC [TRO],” Belmonte told reporters at a news conference.
Outgoing House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales Jr. echoed Belmonte’s statement that Abayon’s rival, Rep. Raul Daza, will be dropped from the roster of House members in the 16th Congress, and reinstate Abayon.
Abayon was replaced by Daza, a former deputy speaker, last March 2016, in the wake of an electoral protest before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
But Abayon elevated the matter before the SC, and the high tribunal had issued a TRO and ordered the HRET to explain.
“When we officially receive the SC decision, Daza will be dropped and Abayon will be reinstated even if the sine die adjournment of Congress ends on June 6,” Gonzales said.
If, for instance, that the House receives the SC order after the sine die adjournment, Abayon can still take his oath and be the duly elected representative of Northern Samar again until June 30, Gonzales added.
Belmonte said he sees nothing wrong with Abayon having reclaimed his congressional seat.
“This is just to correct [the fact] that he is the duly elected representative [of his district],” Belmonte stressed.
“Once we receive the notice with finality on the SC decision, then Abayon will be reinstated,” Belmonte pointed out.
The proclamation of Rodrigo Duterte and Leni Robredo as president and vice president, respectively, was interrupted last Monday when Abayon took the floor and questioned why his name was not called in the roll last week at the start of the canvassing.
Gonzales, at the joint session, said the question raised by Abayon could not be decided by both chambers which were convened for the purpose of proclaiming the new president and vice president.
But Abayon insisted on taking the floor, prompting Gonzales to order the sergeant at arms to escort him out of the plenary.