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For the “Love” of Public Service

The filing of certificates of candidacy (CoCs) will start this Friday, October 1, 2021 until October 8, 2021, 8:00 o’clock am to 5:00 pm daily, including Saturday and Sunday. Some aspirants are still unsure whether they should be running or not, especially when they are government employees. They will be considered ipso facto resigned from office at the time of the filing of their CoC. This is explicit in Comelec Resolution no. 10717, particularly section 30 thereof: “Any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the AFP, and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from the office and must vacate the same at the start of the regular office hours of the day when the aspirant filed the COC.” This is in contrast to the last paragraph of the same section: “Any person holding an elective office or position shall not be considered resigned upon the filing of a COC whether for the same or any other elective office or position.”

Thus, from the provision above, it may be said that unlike government employees, those holding elective offices are exempt from being considered resigned upon the filing of their CoCs. This stems from the provision in Article IX-B, Section 2 (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines where government employees are prohibited from engaging in partisan political campaign or electioneering. Elective officials, on the other hand, by the nature of their functions, are allowed to retain their positions upon the filing of their CoCs since there is a need for them to continue the performance of their functions even during the election period.

Earlier, around year 2009, there was a case that overturned this policy claiming that appointive officials filing CoCs are being subjected to discrimination, thus establishing a rule that both appointive and elective officials filing CoCs are of the same footing, so much so, that if both will file a CoC, both are deemed to have retained their positions, whether it is appointive or elective. Then in an unexpected moment in year 2010, the Supreme Court reverses this decision and that is the rule that is being followed at present.

Are appointive and elective officials the same? Does the law allow that they should be treated differently? How about those in government service and are about to retire but the filing of CoCs falls on a date before their birthday or retirement date? Is there any remedy or consideration for similar situations? Or can the aspirants just give up their years of service all for the sake of their “love” for public service. These and more, on Election Day at our Balitaktakan segment this coming Friday, the first day for filing of CoCs, at 9:00 o’clock in the morning at Regional News Group Luzon, see you.

**Comments/opinions in this article are made by me as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.

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