2009 (STAR) Kapampangans are clamoring for President Arroyo to run for Congress representing the second district of Pampanga next year, Malacañang said yesterday.

Mrs. Arroyo’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said she faces no legal impediment if she runs for another office without resigning from the presidency.

Speaking to reporters, deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo, who is also presidential assistant for central Luzon, said residents of Pampanga told her that they want Mrs. Arroyo to run for Congress.

“I would say yes, especially in Lubao,” she said when asked whether there is a call in Pampanga for the President to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

However, Fajardo refused to venture a guess on whether Mrs. Arroyo would heed the clamor for her to run.

“Because we don’t talk about it,” she said.

Pampanga’s second congressional district is currently held by Mrs. Arroyo’s son, Juan Miguel Arroyo.

Fajardo said she knows whatever decision Mrs. Arroyo would make would be for her, the country and the people of Pampanga.

“I defer to the wisdom of the President,” she said. “I have very strong faith in her.”

Presidential economic spokesman Gary Olivar said Mrs. Arroyo is happier when she’s in Pampanga.

“The President is happy whenever she directly meets with the people,” he said.

Mrs. Arroyo remains mum on reports that she plans to run for Congress following numerous visits to her home province in the past several months.

Mrs. Arroyo has paid at least 35 visits to Pampanga, including her hometown Lubao, this year.

She is scheduled to inspect projects in the province today, the second time she does so this week.

Last Tuesday, she held her Cabinet meeting in San Fernando, Pampanga.

‘Too late for Giron’

Mrs. Arroyo’s election lawyer said it was “too late” for a taxpayer to ask the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution that would allow her to run for Congress next year.

In a legal opinion sent to The STAR, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the petition of Article 64 Movement head Henry Giron questioning the constitutionality of Section 14 of RA 9006, which repealed Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, was already “too late” as the Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue in 2003.

“The constitutionality of the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, which provided for the automatic resignation of an elective official who runs for another elective position had already been upheld and affirmed by the Supreme Court as early as 2003,” he said.

In the case of. Rodolfo Fariñas vs. Executive Secretary, petitioners had argued that the repeal of Section 67 was unconstitutional because Section 14 of RA 9006 was a mere “rider” to the law that dealt mainly on the lifting of the ban on political advertisements.

It is different from Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code on the resignation of elective officials who file their certificates of candidacy for positions other that what they are presently holding, the petitioners added.

In dismissing the Fariñas petition, the SC held that “it is not for the Court to look into the wisdom or propriety of legislative determination. Whether an enactment is wise or unwise, whether it is based on sound economic theory, whether it is the best means to achieve the desired results, are matters for the judgment of the legislature, and the serious conflict of opinions does not suffice to bring them within the range of judicial cognizance.”

Macalintal said the SC has also already resolved the issue raised by Giron that the repeal of Section 67 did not undergo deliberations in the House of Representatives.

“In this case, it cannot be claimed that the legislators were not apprised of the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code as the same was amply and comprehensively deliberated upon by the members of the House,” he said.

“In fact, the petitioners, as members of the House of Representatives, expressed their reservations regarding its validity prior to casting their votes. Undoubtedly, the legislators were aware of the existence of the provision repealing Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code.”

“Clearly, it is too late for the Article 64 Movement to question the constitutionality of the repeal of Section 67 of the OEC in view of the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Fariñas vs. Comelec upholding the constitutionality and validity of Section 14, RA 9006 that repealed Section 67 of the OEC.”

These arguments of Macalintal have already been raised by the Comelec in its comment to Giron’s petition. – Paolo Romero, Edu Punay

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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