IT'S FINAL: CABINET BETS MUST QUIT, SAYS SUPREME COURT
MANILA, MARCH 3, 2010 (STAR) By Edu Punay - It’s final.
Appointive officials, including members of the Cabinet, running in the May 10 elections are deemed resigned upon filing their certificates of candidacy (COCs), the Supreme Court has ruled.
Voting 10-5, the justices dismissed yesterday the motion for reconsideration of Undersecretary Eleazar Quinto and Director Gerino Tolentino of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Court Administrator and SC spokesman Midas Marquez said the justices found no substantial argument in the appeal that would warrant reversal of its Feb.22 ruling.
“The Court denied with finality the motion for reconsideration and stressed that no further pleadings would be entertained in this case,” he said.
Marquez said with the denial of the appeal, the “deemed resigned” rule on appointive officials joining the elections has become effective.
“There is no specific order by the Court to any government office to implement this rule,” he said.
“But that is a given already - the decision speaks for itself.”
Marquez warned appointive officials against remaining in their posts despite the finality of the SC decision.
“That will be their own lookout,” he said.
Marquez said the case of Quinto is different from that of Mayor Rosalinda Penera since Penera involves premature campaigning, while Quinto is about mandatory resignation of appointive officials.
“Whether or not an appointive official is considered a candidate, the law requires that he or she should resign from post upon filing of COC,” he said.
Quinto’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal questioned the SC decision requiring appointive officials to resign from their posts upon filing of COC when in the Penera case the SC ruled that hopefuls only become official candidates at the start of the campaign.
“If a person who files his COC is not yet considered a candidate, it would be absurd to rule that an appointive official should be deemed resigned once he files his COC when the law says that the filing of such COC does not yet make him a candidate,” he said.
GMA to comply with SC ruling
President Arroyo will appoint officers-in-charge for the vacated Cabinet posts to comply with the SC’s ruling on the resignation of appointive officials running for elective posts on May 10, Malacañang said yesterday.
Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who is one of those affected by the SC ruling, is awaiting the official copy of the decision.
“The Palace takes note of this report and the Office of the Executive Secretary is waiting to receive a written copy of the high court’s decision so we can appropriately comply,” he said.
“It should be added that the President gave herself no later than March 10 to replace those Cabinet members, all of whom in any case have already resigned.”
In a statement, lawyer Macalintal immediately acceded to the decision and thanked the media for giving space on the issue to educate the voters. – With Paolo Romero
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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