Francisco Datol Jr returns as Senior Citizens congressman

MANILA, Philippines – After an internal party dispute, Francisco Datol Jr regained his seat as Senior Citizens congressman in the House of Representatives. 

Datol took his oath during the House plenary session on Wednesday, December 4, before Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta. 

It was House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez who moved to allow Datol to take his oath.

Romualdez said the House already received from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) the certificate of proclamation (COP) declaring Senior Citizens among the winners in the party-list elections in May. Datol is the group's 1st nominee.

"Mr Speaker, pursuant to the aforementioned certificate of proclamation, I move that we allow Mr Francisco G Datol Jr, representative of the party-list Coalition of the Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Inc to take his oath in open session," Romualdez said. 

No lawmaker opposed the motion.

Datol immediately went up the Speaker's rostrum to take his oath. Standing by his side were Kabayan Representative Ron Salo, who is part of the majority bloc, and Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte, who is also House deputy minority leader. 

Datol was one of two Senior Citizens representatives in the previous 17th Congress along with Milagros Aquino Magsaysay.

Datol's oath-taking comes more than a week after ranking House members led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano filed a resolution urging the Comelec to issue COPs to two embattled party-list groups: Duterte Youth and Senior Citizens.

The Senior Citizens party, which won one seat in the 18th Congress, earlier sought the poll body's intervention to end its internal dispute over its official nominees in May.

According to BusinessMirror, Datol, Magsaysay, and Godofredo Villar Arquiza were all claiming to be party president and each endorsed different sets of nominees for Senior Citizens.

The Comelec's issuance of the COP to Senior Citizens and Datol's oath-taking mark the end of the party's internal squabble. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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