The Office of the Attorney General issued a statement Wednesday last week clarifying the rules of succession to the Office of the Governor.
Saying he is deeply saddened by the passing of Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Attorney General Edward Manibusan said, “It is with a deep sense of regret that the Office of the Attorney General feels that it is necessary to provide an explanation for the law of succession to the governorship.”
“After carefully reviewing Article III, Section 7 of the Constitution, my office has concluded that no special election is required,” Manibusan said.
He said the Constitution requires a special election only if the individual assuming office is assuming the office of “Acting Governor” or “Acting Lieutenant Governor.” An individual will only assume the office of “Acting Governor” or “Acting Lieutenant Governor” if vacancies occur for both the governor and the lieutenant governor at the same time.
“Here, the office being assumed is the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor—not the Office of the Acting Governor or Acting Lieutenant Governor. Therefore, the Commonwealth Constitution does not allow for a special election,” Manibusan further explained.
Lt. Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres became the governor upon the death of Inos. Similarly, Senate President Victor B. Hocog is now the lieutenant governor.
“I have spoken with Governor Torres and have informed him that the Office of the Attorney General stands ready to assist him in an orderly transition,” Manibusan added.
In his message about the passing of Inos, Manibusan said: “The Commonwealth has lost an extraordinary man who devoted much of his life to public service and to the people of this Commonwealth.”
Article III, Section 7 of the Commonwealth Constitution provides for the succession to the Offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.