The National- Friday, January 14, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
A NOTICE of appeal will be filed at the National Court this morning restraining parliament from convening and have the nomination period of the governor-general extended by another 14 days.
Parliament was scheduled to meet at 10am today.
Appellant Ronald Rimbao, who had publicly announced his intention to contest the GG’s post, would use section 5(4) of the Organic Law on the nomination of the governor-general to stop parliament from meeting until his appeal was heard in a court of law.
Rimbao is arguing that he was not provided a nomination form, to seek endorsement from at least 15 members of parliament to qualify for the race, although his lawyers had written to the clerk of parliament on Dec 31 last year.
In a letter to clerk of parliament Don Pandan on Wednesday, Rimbao said he would also seek to have his nomination form of May 28, 2010, accepted and included among the nominated list for the position of governor-general in this sitting.
However, in his reply the same day, Pandan said he had no powers to get parliament “to meet today or tomorrow” to reverse its meeting schedule.
“The acting speaker’s statement announcing details of the nomination and deadlines cannot be reversed. It was made in parliament and can only be reversed in parliament,” Pandan explained in his letter to Rimbao.
“The only other body that has these powers are the courts.”
The clerk of parliament also pointed out that the entire process of nomination that took place in May and June last year could not be relied on or used.
“The entire process starts again, and did so on Tuesday, Jan 11, at 3.30pm in the chamber with the acting speaker’s statement,” Pandan said in his reply.
This meeting of parliament, which started on Monday, was specifically to nominate and vote in a new governor-general following a Supreme Court order on Dec 10 last year.
It did so after ruling that the election of Sir Paulias Matane as the vice-regal was unconstitutional.
Copies of Rimbao’s letter to Pandan were also delivered to the speaker and solicitor-general.