FEARLESS FORECAST: Ate Vi looms as Recto’s successor
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FEARLESS FORECAST: Ate Vi looms as Recto’s successor

Batangas 6th district special election

Jan 22, 2024, 1:14 AM



STO TOMAS City -- A clamor for a special election for the post vacated by Congressman Ralph Recto is starting to boil up as gleaned on social media posts of netizens from Lipa City, the sixth legislative district of Batangas.

“Sinong mag-rerepresent sa atin kapag nag-resume and plenary sessions?” said a netizen from Lipa on her Facebook account.

There were other similar sentiments posted on social media with some even urging actor Lucky Manzano to try his luck on politics along with Ryan Christian Recto, youngest son of Vilma and Recto.

Manzano is a son of Vilma Santos from another marriage.

But according to many Lipenos they would be more than happy if the former Batangas Governor and congresswoman (Vilma Santos Recto) would “reclaim” the Sixth Congressional District of the province.

Lipa City’s lone congressional District was recently vacated when Congressman Ralph Recto was appointed Finance chief by President Marcos last week (12 Jan 2024)

Political observers claim Lucky Manzano would also be a good choice as well as the 27-year-old RC Recto who in an exclusive interview with Pep.ph, averred that he is “more interested in politics than in showbiz.”

But the political observers countered that, out of the three, Vilma Santos Recto is in the best position to regain the Congressional post she relinquished in 2022 to allow husband (Ralph Recto) to field his candidacy as the latter was a “graduate” senator then.

As a politician, Santos served as 22nd governor of Batangas for three consecutive terms (2007-2016) and as mayor of Lipa (1998-2007) also for three consecutive terms.

She was elected as the Representative of the 6th District of Batangas which comprise only the City of Lipa, from 2016-2022.

She was encouraged by various political parties to run for the Senate in 2019, but refused to do so.

She also served as a House Deputy Speaker from 2019 to 2022.


At this point however, the Star For All Seasons seems reluctant or undecided yet or it could still be too early to announce her willingness to have another shot at Lipa’s lone congressional slot.

"No na po muna (Still 'no' for the moment)," the actress noted in her text message when asked if she would run in a possible special election.

"Nope...am not the replacement. It's the Congress who will decide on that," replied Vilma on Facebook Messenger sent to her by Batangas Opinyon.

Comelec in holding pattern

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is currently in a holding pattern, anticipating the House of Representatives' verdict on whether to conduct a special election for Batangas province's sixth legislative district.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia explained this in an interview last Tuesday (16 Jan 2024).

“It depends on the House of Representatives if they will call for one. There is none so far, likely because Congress has not yet resumed session," Garcia said.

Plenary sessions will resume on Tuesday, January 23, 2023.

According to Comelec rules, the House must issue a certificate of permanent vacancy and a resolution before the poll body can organize a special election.

The recent appointment of then-Representative Ralph Recto as the new Secretary of the Department of Finance by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. triggered this potential special election.

Recto's appointment led to a chain reaction, including his resignation from the position of one of the House's deputy speakers.

As the political landscape unfolds, Comelec remains on standby for the House's decision regarding the necessity of a special election in the Batangas congressional seat.

And should it pushes through, some quarters claim, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) might apply the same formula the poll body used during the special election for Cavite’s 7th District representative in February 25, 2023, after Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla also vacated his post when PBBM appointed him justice secretary just two weeks after being reelected unopposed in the May 11, 2022 elections.

In Remulla’s case, House Speaker Martin Romualdez served as the caretaker congressman for the district, which includes Amadeo, Tanza, Indang, and Trece Martires City.

In the case of Lipa’s Sixth Congressional District, many anticipated the Comelec would create a similar timeline of activities for the special election in Remulla’s case before in Cavite.

Similarly, during the special election period, various bans will also be imposed, including the carrying of guns, release of prisoners, use of police as security personnel or bodyguards, transfer of personnel in the civil services, suspension of any elective officials within the province, and raising funds through lotteries and cockfighting.

The said special election in Cavite was also automated but newly-registered voters were not allowed to participate then.

Comelec chair George Garcia added that in the event there is only one candidate who would file his or her candidacy, the Comelec will promptly proclaim him or her as the new representative of Lipa’s lone District.

Who could beat Recto’s wife Vilma Santos-Recto if and when the former congresswoman and Batangas governor decides to take over the post vacated by her husband?

Any anointed candidate by the Recto’s would actually be an instant shoo-in to take over Recto’s post, political observers in Batangas stressed.

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