Comelec says Cabinet men can keep jobs till October
Cabinet members and appointed officials who intend to run in the 2016 elections need not resign before they file certificates of candidacy (COCs), according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on Wednesday said that appointed officials would be considered automatically resigned once they file their COCs in October.
“Once you file your COC and you are an appointed official, ipso facto you are deemed automatically resigned. It means you don’t have to resign,” he said.
Jimenez said a government official’s declaration of intention to run for office was not tantamount to a COC being filed.
The situation is different for elected officials. “If you’re an elected official and you file a certificate of candidacy, you’re not deemed resigned,” he said.
Jimenez cited the case of senators who ran for higher office and lost, and returned to the Senate to finish their six-year terms.
“If you had an elected official who also held an appointed position or a designation of some sort, then you can imagine that if someone files a certificate of candidacy, then that would trigger losing the appointed position but he would retain the elected position,” he said on the sidelines of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) workshop on election observation.
Earlier this week, Vice President Jejomar Binay resigned as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and as presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.
His allies claimed that Binay quit his posts because he was tired of being treated as the Aquino Cabinet’s “punching bag.”
Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito the other day said Cabinet members planning to seek elective posts in next year’s elections should resign, too, out of delicadeza.
Using state resources
Ejercito said the appointed officials were already using government resources to advance their respective political interests.
Malacañang has defended the TV and radio advertisements of Cabinet officials and other government executives as part of their jobs.
While resigning is a judgment call, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said on Tuesday if Cabinet officials prolonged their tenure in the administration and then run in next year’s polls, they would have much explaining to do.
Focus on work
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the presumptive Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer, said only those who “declared” their intention to run next year should tender their resignation to avoid suspicion they were using government resources for their political agenda.
“It’s just right. If a candidate has declared and has made a decision, I think that’s just natural,” Roxas told reporters after leading the launching of the “Safe Kam” project of the police in Caloocan City.
Asked if he would also resign like what his political archrival, Binay, did on Monday, the interior secretary said he was just carrying out his responsibilities as overseer of the Philippine National Police and the local government units.
Roxas, who opted to play coy on his political plans, said he had been leading several government projects even before his name was mentioned by fellow LP members as President Aquino’s possible successor.
“I have a duty to perform. Do you think this is just electioneering or a part of my job? All of us in the Cabinet are focused on our work,” Roxas said.
“We have an obligation to the people … to provide them our complete services. We’re just complying with our mandate,” he added.