Paragraph 2 of Article VI, Sec 4 of the 1987 Constitution prohibits any person to serve as a Senator for 2 consecutive terms. Also, voluntary renunciation for any length of time s not considered as an interruption of the term.
Consider the following established facts:
- Koko Pimentel actually won the 2007 Senatorial Elections.
- Migz Zubiri assumed the contested position for five years (2007-2011) and has served as the Senate Majority Floor Leader from 2007 to 2010.
- Koko Pimentel assumed his office 2011 following Migz Zubiri’s resignation.
- Koko Pimentel’s term will end in 2013.
- Koko Pimentel and Migz Zubiri will both run in the next Senatorial Elections.
Now, if Koko Pimentel wins the next election, and therefore shall serve for another 6 years, he will be barred from running as a Senator in 2019. This is non-contestable as the first bullet point implies that his first term was during 2007 until 2013. For Migz Zubiri however, will he win the next elections, and therefore shall be proclaimed as a Senator for 2013-19 term, is he still qualified to run as Senator in 2019?
I think the crux of this dilemma is on whether we can actually say that Zubiri was an actual senator during his “incumbency” from 2007-2011.
Disclaimer: I am not an election lawyer– not even a lawyer. This post came from a question that struck me yesterday afternoon while reading a Constitution textbook. Please pardon me for any ignorance that this post might reflect.