SC: Appointed execs running now considered resigned
By Dona Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Effective March 2, appointed officials running in the May 10 elections are considered resigned and should vacate their posts immediately, the Supreme Court has declared.
The Supreme Court Tuesday closed the door to further petitions as it denied “with finality” the motion for reconsideration filed by administration election lawyer Romulo Macalintal against the high court’s decision nine days ago.
The tribunal’s ruling on Feb. 22 upheld the constitutionality of election rules that say appointed officials are considered automatically resigned upon the filing of their certificate of candidacy (CoC). The filing of a CoC was from Nov. 20 to Dec. 1 last year.
“That (motion for reconsideration) is denied with finality. No further pleadings shall be entertained. That means effective today (Tuesday), all appointive officials who filed their certificate of candidacy are deemed resigned,” Court Administrator Midas Marquez told reporters after the full court session.
Marquez, concurrent Supreme Court spokesperson, said the tribunal again voted 10-5 to uphold its ruling on the constitutionality of Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 13 of the Election Automation Law.
The tribunal reversed its 8-6 ruling of Dec. 1 last year that the long-observed election rule was unconstitutional and that appointed officials could stay on until the end of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term on June 30.
Marquez described as “plain and simple” the election provision on the automatic resignation of Cabinet members and other appointed officials, who filed their CoCs with the Commission on Elections.
No need for letter
“Since the court has spoken, all those who filed their CoC are considered resigned. ‘Deemed resigned’ means you don’t have to file a resignation letter. The fact of filing a CoC automatically makes you resigned,” he said.
“So, effective today they should be considered resigned already,” Marquez added.
Macalintal, who represented Environment Undersecretary Eleazar Quinto and Bureau Director Gerino Tolentino in their petition, accepted the high court’s latest pronouncement.
“There is only one Supreme Court and let it remain that way. It is the final arbiter of all legal issues and once it makes a final and executory decision it forms part of the law of the land which must be respected and complied with by all concerned,” Macalintal said in a text message sent to reporters.
Macalintal said it was not the end of the world for his clients “because that decision will not in any way affect their political ambitions.”
Macalintal filed a motion for reconsideration on Monday asking the high court to “reconcile” its decision on the Quinto-Tolentino petition with its ruling on the Penera case.
He said the resignation of appointed officials should only take effect at the start of the campaign period, March 26 for local posts, and not upon the filing of a CoC.
Last Nov. 25, the Supreme Court reinstated Mayor Rosalinda Penera of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte, who was initially disqualified for campaigning ahead of the official campaign period.
The high court declared that a person who filed his CoC was only considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period.
Marquez said the Supreme Court justices did not see any conflict in its decisions on the Penera case and the Quinto-Tolentino petition.
“Those are two different issues. Regardless whether you’re considered a candidate, you’re still deemed resigned” upon filing your CoC, he said.
Appointed officials take the risk of courting disqualification for using their office for electioneering if they refuse to leave their office immediately.
“That will be their own lookout. They might be liable for some violations,” Marquez said.
Among appointed officials running in the May elections are six [erstwhile] Cabinet members Eduardo Ermita, Agnes Devanadera, Arthur Yap, Rolando Andaya, Raul Gonzalez and Hermogenes Esperon—and six Comelec officials.
Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes is a nominee of a party-list group.