The bible of Philippine politics

Tuloy ang gloria! GMA, Koko, Lucy Torres seen to challenge term limits in 2019


Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may not be going away anytime soon despite serving three terms in Congress— especially now that she’s the new House Speaker.

But how will Arroyo be eligible to run for another term when no less than the 1987 Constitution limits the years a politiko is able to hold office?

The answer lies in a 2013 decision issued by the Supreme Court.

Less than four months before the 2013 midterm polls, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it is not enough for a politiko to serve for three consecutive terms so he or she will be disqualified from running again for a fourth time.

Acting on a petition by Viga, Catanduanes Mayor Abelardo Abundo Sr., the SC ruled that the politikos “must also have been elected to the same position for the same number of times.”

The SC also said an election protest is considered an “involuntary interruption” in the three-term limit even if the subject of the protest will finally be able to assume the post if he wins the case.

With the SC ruling in mind, Arroyo can still run for a fresh term since she spent five out of her nine years as Pampanga congresswoman in hospital detention over charges related to the alleged misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s intelligence funds.

Arroyo was elected to Congress in 2010 but was arrested in 2011 in connection with an electoral sabotage case filed by the Commission on Elections.

Despite her detention, Arroyo won her reelection bids in 2013 and 2016.

With the SC ruling in mind, other politikos seen to challenge the three-term limits in 2019 are:

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Pimentel has expressed his plan to run for re-election since he failed to complete his first six-year term as a result of the poll protest he lodged against Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

He was only proclaimed senator in August 2011, serving for only one year and 10 months before running again for the Senate in 2013.

Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez

Gomez was first elected as the representative of Leyte’s 4th District in 2010. She ran in place of her husband, actor Richard Gomez, who was disqualified by the Comelec due to his failure to comply with the residency requirement.

In 2013, the SC ousted Gomez because she “did not validly substitute” her husband.

Despite the ruling, Gomez won her re-election bids in 2013 and 2016.

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