There will be no special election for a Rota senator’s position that is has been left vacant with the swearing in of Senate President Victor B. Hocog as lieutenant governor, according to Attorney General Edward Manibusan and Commonwealth Election Commission officials.
In an interview yesterday, Manibusan said whoever was the second highest vote getter in the 2014 election for Rota senator’s position will take the seat.
“That has always been the rule,” the AG pointed out.
That means that former senator Paul A. Manglona will take fill up the position of Hocog, considering that he finished third in the Senate race for Rota behind Steven K. Mesngon and Teresita A. Santos.
Manibusan agreed that Manglona is indeed the next highest vote getter.
Commonwealth Election Commission acting executive director Julita Villagomez and CEC administrative officer Kyla Igitol also confirmed with Saipan Tribune yesterday that there will be no special election for the lone Rota senator’s seat.
Villagomez and Igitol said Paul Manglona will fill up the vacant Rota senator’s position, if he is willing to serve.
Villagomez and Igitol cited the law that provides that “a vacancy in the Legislature shall be filled by special election if one-half or more of the term remains.”
The law also provides that “if less than one-half of the term remains, the governor shall fill up the vacancy by appointing the unsuccessful candidate for the office in the last election who received the largest number of votes and is willing to serve or, if no candidate is available, a person qualified for the office from the district represented.”
Manglona was the longest serving member of the Legislature after 25 years, thrice as Senate president, until Hocog defeated him in the 2012 elections.
In November 2013, Manglona returned to the Senate after then-acting governor Jude Hofschneider appointed him to the 18th Senate when the CNMI Supreme Court ruled that the unsuccessful candidate in the 2012 election—and not in the 2009 polls—should be appointed to the seat vacated by former Rota senator Juan M. Ayuyu.
On the passing of governor Eloy S. Inos, Manibusan said, “It’s a very sad day.”
Manibusan said he knows that Inos had a lot of things that he wanted to do for the Commonwealth and he hopes that the Torres administration will move forward with Inos’ ideas and plans and move the Commonwealth forward.
“And we’re all going be part of it. We’re going to help move the Commonwealth forward,” he said.
As the chief legal officer of the Commonwealth, Manibusan said he looks forward to working with Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres.
“We will work with him and make sure that his policies are carried forward. We look forward to working with him,” he said.