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The Lessons of a Three-Termer

In election laws, a three-termer is a local official who has been elected for three consecutive terms for the same position and has fully served the said three terms.

As clearly stated in Section 43 (b) of the Local Government Code: “No local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position, “ and in Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: “No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms,” being a three-termer is not a violation, what the law prohibits is when the three-termer is allowed to serve for a fourth consecutive term.

The reason why the law prohibits a fourth term, as mentioned above, is that the accumulation of power, because of prolonged stay in a certain territory, must not be vested in one person alone. A fair chance must be given to other qualified individuals who can effectively continue and carry out the same duties and responsibilities that a three-termer official will temporarily leave behind.

The prohibition on three-termers will not apply if there is an involuntary renunciation of the office. This means that any of the three terms has been interrupted resulting in the official, not fully serving that term, in which case, he or she will not be considered a three-termer and will be qualified to run again in the next elections which would have been his or her fourth term had it not been for that interruption. The interruption of a term of office could be because of the effects of succession, dismissal from office, or it was the result of an election protest or any action where the official effectively vacated his or her office in the middle of the three consecutive terms.

Some interruptions in the term of office could not be considered as an effective interruption for purposes of reckoning the full term, like for instance, when the official resigns or retires from service or when he or she has been elected to another public office. These are considered voluntary renunciation of office and are not considered as effective interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which the official has been elected.
There are many lessons that a three-termer needs to learn. Some refuse to listen and believe in the recent cases of others who are similarly situated, that they tend to repeat the same acts– in their insistence to continue longer being in their desired offices. There are also instances where the public official has been suspended because a case has been filed against him or her. Is suspension, no matter how short it may be, be considered an interruption of the term of an official? And if it is? Can he or she run again for a ‘fourth’ term?

These questions and more will be answered, using the current cases applicable on the matter, on our Election Day Segment at Morning Balitaktakan on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 9:00 o’clock in the morning at the Regional News Group Luzon. Please watch us.

***Comment/s or opinion/s made in this article are made in my personal capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.

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