During the last Senate committee meeting on September 13, 2018, Senator Koko Pimentel pledged that Smartmatic people must divulge their knowledge on the alleged 2016 election fraud. Two months had passed by and this promise is still hanging. However, he prioritizes the filing of his questionable certificate of candidacy and his recent marriage. Does this mean that there’s no more public hearing on this issue?
YouTube video by Radyo Pilipinas 738
[VIDEO]: Disqualification case isinampa laban kay Sen. Koko Pimentel sa Comelec
Two Kinds of Senate Hearings
There are two types of hearings in the Senate. First is the public hearing where it is open to the media and the public. Then, the executive sessions where the media and the public are not allowed. Only members of the Senate and the Congress can attend such meeting. Atty. Glenn Chong’s team members are worried that Senator Pimentel’s committee would opt for the executive session. Given that this could save Smartmatic from further embarrassments.
Smartmatic in partnership with Comelec is obviously very powerful. Only a public hearing can justify a clean mid-term election. However, it is notable that Pimentel’s committee is very quiet nowadays. It could be that an executive session is now cooking if the running Senator is in connivance with the riding in tandem, as Atty. Chong puts it.
Regaining the Public’s Trust
As long as the Smartmatic witnesses cannot be presented in a public hearing, the people will surely doubt the integrity of the elections in 2019. It would look like the committee is protecting the Comelec and Smartmatic fraud syndicates. The Senate would surely lose its credibility as a worst-case scenario.
Confusion on the Law
The Constitution provides that the term of office of a senator is six years and that no senator can run for more than two consecutive terms. “In the case of Pimentel, he lost in the May 2007 election for senator but eventually won his election protest against Senator (Juan Miguel) Zubiri in August 2011 and served merely the remaining two years unexpired term of Zubiri from August 2011 to June 2013”. Pimentel’s election lawyers cited the 2017 case of Albania vs. Comelec, where the High Court reiterated its previous similar doctrines in other election cases that the period of time that an elective official served after winning his election protest “did not constitute a complete and full service of his term as he did not hold the office for the full term of three years to which he was supposedly entitled to.” Other lawyers also disagree with this analysis.
Pimentel, 54, married partner Kathryna Yu, 36, in a civil wedding ceremony last October 18, at the Coconut Palace. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio officiated the wedding, which was attended by big names in politics and showbiz. President Rodrigo Du30 and close aide Bong Go who also runs for Senator led the principal sponsors. Despite the newly-wed blues, Atty. Chong still insists on Pimentel’s response as to when the next public hearing would be on the election fraud issue?