2009 (STAR) President Arroyo would be abandoning the presidency if she runs for Congress in next year’s elections, according to a taxpayer opposing her plan.

Replying to the Commission on Elections’ comment to his petition before the Supreme Court, Henry Giron said Mrs. Arroyo was elected president to perform executive functions.

“If she runs for a legislative post that would mean she no longer wants to be in the executive department,” read Giron’s reply.

“That is already a case of abandonment of people’s mandate, and this is why many people are saying that she would already forfeit her seat if she pursues that plan.”

Giron, who heads the Article 64 Movement, said the SC must take a second look at the provision of Republic Act. 9006, the Fair Elections Act, which repealed Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code that required elected officials to resign from their posts if they run for other positions – except for president and vice president.

“By repealing Section 67, it only attracts political adventurism among public officials,” read Giron’s reply.

Giron said campaigning for another position in an election while completing an elective term of office is against the public accountability clause of the Constitution.

“It has been explained that if the mandate, for instance, the senator is to serve for six years, then in the midyear of his term, he ran for other office, then that clearly shows that he has no intention to service the mandate of the people which was placed upon him and therefore he should be considered ipso facto resigned,” read Giron’s reply.

“He abandoned this solemn duty to uphold this clear and unmistakable mandate given to him by the people.”

In its comment to Giron’s petition, the Comelec said the SC had already resolved the issues raised and upheld the constitutionality of the repealing clause of RA 9006 on Dec. 29, 2003 in the case of Rodolfo Fariñas vs. Executive Secretary.

However, Giron said the SC had ruled twice in separate cases and upheld the constitutionality of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code prior to the Fariñas case.

On Oct. 15, 1991, the SC upheld the constitutionality of Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr.’s, administrative act of removing Rep. Ali Dimaporo’s name from the roll of the House of Representatives, he added.

Giron said in that case, the SC pointed out the basic concept that a public office is a public trust.

“It is created for the interest and benefit of the people,” read the SC decision.

“As such, the holder thereof is subject to such regulations and conditions as the law may impose and he cannot complain of any restrictions which public policy may dictate on his office.”

‘GMA’s plan to run known’

BAGUIO CITY – President Arroyo’s bid for Congress is well known among her cabalen, according to an Ibon Foundation survey.

At least 76 percent of Kapampangans know Mrs. Arroyo’s plan, Ibon said in its latest nationwide survey done on Oct. 2-8 using multi-stage probability sampling scheme.

However, only 16.9 percent were in favor of Mrs. Arroyo’s stay in government this way, and almost half (44.6 percent) were not in favor.

Around the country, 61 percent of the total 1,496 respondents “are aware Mrs. Arroyo will run for Congress,” said Rosario Guzman, executive director of Ibon who furnished The STAR with the results of their survey.

Those not favoring Mrs. Arroyo to stay longer in government even as a Pampanga lawmaker numbered 85.8 percent. – Edu Punay, Artemio Dumlao

Deadline for filing of COCs for 2010 polls moved to Dec. 1 By Shiela Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) Updated November 05, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 10, 2010 local and national polls has been extended from Nov. 30 to midnight of Dec. 1, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo said yesterday.

The filing will start on Nov. 20.

“Our (former) deadline for the filing of COCs is Nov. 30 which is a holiday. So from Nov. 20, we will be open for the filing of applications – whether it’s a Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, including those holidays in the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) – to Dec. 1 up to 12 midnight,” Melo added.

Those running for president, vice president, senators and party-list will have to file their COCs at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.

Candidates for congressmen down to councilors will have to lodge their COCs in their respective localities.

For next year’s polls, up for grab is a total of 17,888 positions, excluding the party-list seats.

The figure includes one each for president and vice president, 12 senators, 222 for House of Representatives, 80 each for governor and vice governor, 762 for provincial board member, 120 each for city mayor and vice mayor, 1,514 each for municipal mayor and vice mayor, and 12,116 municipal councilors.

'GMA can't be compelled to quit presidency if she runs' By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated November 06, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Arroyo cannot be compelled to step down if she decides to seek a congressional post in 2010, two lawyer-legislator allies said yesterday.

Reps. Simeon Datumanong of Maguindanao and Mauricio Domogan of Baguio City said the law does not require a sitting president to quit if she or he decides to run for a lower elective position.

Datumanong and Domogan issued the clarification in response to a petition filed by Mrs. Arroyo’s critic Henry Giron with the Supreme Court requiring the Commission on Elections to disqualify her if she runs.

“The President’s term will end on June 30, 2010. She cannot be compelled to resign even if she files her certificate of candidacy to run for a congressional seat in the May 2010 polls,” Datumanong said.

He said Mrs. Arroyo’s seeking a congressional post in the second district of her home province in Pampanga, whose current representative is her son Juan Miguel (Mikey), is “not tantamount to her abandonment of the presidency.”

“President Arroyo, if she will run for other elective position, will not be deemed resigned from her position as president. That is the law,” Datumanong, a former justice secretary, said.

Article VII Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the President shall have a six-year term “which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date, six years thereafter.”

“To say that GMA will be abandoning her post and her mandate to the people once she files her COC is totally wrong and distorted. The law is clear on this,” Domogan, for his part said.

Domogan, a vice chairman of the House committee on justice, said that in the past an incumbent who ran for another position was considered resigned under Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code.

But with the enactment of Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Election Act in February 2001, the President is no longer required to resign if he or she aspires for another post.

“If she runs for a legislative post that would mean she no longer wants to be in the executive department. That is a case of abandonment of people’s mandate, and this is why many people are saying that she would already forfeit her seat if she pursues that plan,” Giron earlier told the SC. – With Jess Diaz

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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