By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:10:00 11/30/2009
Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010
MANILA, Philippines -- A noted constitutionalist and even one of the opposition’s top election lawyers on Monday said there was nothing illegal about President Macapagal-Arroyo’s running for the House of Representatives in her home district in Pampanga.
Lawyer Christian Monsod, former chair of the Commission on Elections and one of the drafters of the 1987 Constitution, told the Inquirer Ms Arroyo could run for any position in government
except for re-election as President.
“That’s allowed,” Monsod said. And she doesn’t need to resign either, according to Monsod.
“There’s no rule that says she should resign. If that is the rule, you will not have anybody running the government if all officials are supposed to resign,” he added.
Election lawyer Sixto Brillantes, the legal counsel of the late opposition standard bearer Fernando Poe, Jr., in the election protest against Ms Arroyo in 2004, agreed with Monsod’s statement about the absence of any law barring her from running for Congress.
He, however, questioned the propriety of Ms Arroyo’s decision to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.
“It’s just a shame,” Brillantes said in Filipino. “They are undermining the position of President,” he added.
Brillantes said there was no way a Pampanga representative would be co-equal with the President.
“They are saying the legislative branch is co-equal with the executive. How can one representative among more than 200 House members be co-equal with the Chief Executive?” Brillantes said.
“It is a move against the norms of morality,” he added.
Lawyer Midas Marquez, Supreme Court spokesperson and deputy court administrator, also indicated that there’s nothing wrong with the incumbent President running for another office and continuing to serve until the end of her term as President.
“According to the resolution of the Comelec, which incidentally is being questioned, only appointive officials are considered resigned upon the filing of respective (certificates of candidacies),” Marquez said in a text message.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide on Tuesday on whether appointed officials may be deemed resigned upon the filing of the COC’s.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, on behalf of two Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials, questioned before the Comelec a resolution that considered appointed government officials resigned upon the filing of their certificates of candidacies.