Envoy's wife not covered by CSC rules, but not off-the-hook yet in Saudi 'campaigning' — Lizada | Inquirer News
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Envoy’s wife not covered by CSC rules, but not off-the-hook yet in Saudi ‘campaigning’ — Lizada

/ 10:15 AM March 08, 2022
A CSC commissioner reminded government employees not to wear clothes containing words which signify support to a candidate during work hours.

FILE PHOTO: CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada. INQUIRER/GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — The wife of the Philippine ambassador in Saudi Arabia is not yet off the hook, even though she is not covered by civil service rules when she joined a campaign for a presidential candidate, a violation of election rules for public officials.

Civil Service Commissioner Aileen Lizada said on Tuesday that while Ambassador Adnon Alonto’s wife Jo may not be covered by Section 7 of the Coverage of Civil Service under Executive Order No. 292 as her husband, but it has to be determined if she had used his influence to be able to address the crowd.

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The envoy’s wife was filmed in a video allegedly campaigning for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. while wearing a red t-shirt with his initials as she spoke to the crowd in Riyadh. Campaign posters for Marcos and his running mate Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio were also seen in the background of the video.

“Quite unique is, the wife is not covered by the civil service rules,” Lizada said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Rundown.

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“The question to be asked is, if you were not married to a certain official, would you have had the opportunity to address this crowd?” Lizada added.

Section 7 of EO 292 enumerates which government officials are subject to civil service rules.

Under Joint Circular no. 001 of the CSC and the Commission on Elections, electioneering and partisan political activities to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or party to public office are prohibited.

The CSC clarified, however, that civil servants are not barred from casting their votes; expressing their views on current political problems or issues; mentioning the names of candidates or parties whom they support; expressing their opinions or engaging in discussions of probable issues in a forthcoming election; or liking, commenting, sharing, reposting, and following a candidate’s/party’s account, “unless these are resorted as a means to solicit support for or against a candidate/party during the campaign period.”

Those who will be found guilty of engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political activities will be meted with a penalty of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months suspension for the first offense; and dismissal from the service for the second offense according to the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service or 2017 RACCS, the joint circular further stated.

Not partisan?

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said it is now looking into the incident, while Alonto had been instructed to return to the Philippines for “home office consultations.”

However, Alonto’s wife said she wasn’t urging the Filipino community there to vote for Marcos. She said she was just urging the Filipinos to cast their votes in the elections.

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But for Lizada, the fact that Alonto’s wife was wearing a red t-shirt with the initials of a political candidate shows that she is indirectly being partisan.

“If she were to be an employee or official, we are all covered by the Joint Comelec-CSC Circular 001 Series of 2016. If you wear your favorite colors, wala tayong problema doon (we don’t have a problem there), but if you put a name or the picture, you are indirectly being partisan already, because again there are people who are [your] subordinates, then they look up to you and you might be in a subtle way campaigning either for the defeat, or victory of a party, a candidate, or parties or candidates,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lizada noted that the joke of the ambassador’s wife urging “chicks” to flirt with their employers so they will be allowed to cast their votes is improper.

Alonto’s wife was filmed saying that: “Kung kailangan niyo magpaalam sa amo niyo, baka naman pwedeng anuhin na nyo, medyo, ‘yung mga chicks diyan ay landian na niyo ‘yung amo nyo.”

(If you need to ask permission from your employers, maybe you can do something. Chicks, just flirt with your bosses.)

Lizada urged Alonto’s wife to be “more circumspect.”

“It shows how you look at and treat women. Hindi ho tama, hindi po tayo dapat sinasabihan ng ganyan especially ng kapwa natin babae (That is not right. We should not be spoken of things like that especially from fellow women),” she said.

“So let us be more circumspect and [have] abundance of caution on how we say things because your spouse represents our country abroad,” she added.

Lizada also urged the DFA to provide orientations to families of ambassadors on the proper conduct they should observe abroad.

EDV

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TAGS: Adnan Alonto, Aileen Lizada, civil service, CSC, electioneering, partisan politics, Saudi Arabia
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