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He doesn’t even go here! Residents wonder why non-Cordilleran Eric Yap appointed Benguet OIC

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The public backlash continues for ACT-CIS Representative Eric Yap after residents from the Cordillera Administration Region questioned why the politiko was even named legislative caretaker.

On Monday, September 14, Twitter user @MissMagie said Benguet residents like her are still wondering why it was Yap who had been appointed as officer-in-charge of Benguet when their elected congressman Nestor Fongwan Jr. passed away in December 2019.

“You know what else makes us scratch our heads in wonder here in Benguet? It’s how the heck did Eric Yap become the caretaker of the province after our congressman passed away,” said @MissMagie.

“We thought maybe the Baguio or Mt. Provincial rep would take over, or maybe we elect a new one, but no,” she added.

It has become tradition in the House for the Speaker to choose the legislative caretaker when a position becomes vacant in the lower chamber. Still, past Speakers usually appointed a congressman or congresswoman from a nearby district as a caretaker.

Another Twitter user @cordero_fritz pointed out that the 1987 Constitution mandates that a special election should be held when a legislative seat is vacated.

“The Constitution says a special election should be held to replace the vacated position., What could be the basis for this ‘caretaker” position?'” he asked.

Section 9, Article VI of the Constitution states that in cases of vacancy in Congress, a “special election may be called to fill such vacancy.”

But the operative word here is “may,” which could be why House Speakers in the past have decided to drop holding a special election and instead just appoint an OIC when a legislative district’s seat becomes empty.

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