Poe, 5 others can always go back to Senate, says Lagman
Senator Grace Poe and five of her colleagues who are all vying for higher posts have nothing to lose even if they fail in their respective bids because they are assured of retaining their Senate seats under existing law, former Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Tuesday.
But Lagman raised the question of ethics and moral reasons for these lawmakers to resign once they filed their respective certificate of candidacy from Oct. 12 to 16.
“There is compelling reason for a candidate running for an elective position other than the one for which he has been elected to be ipso facto deemed resigned from his incumbent position in order to ensure fealty to the electoral mandate and impose ethics in politics,” said Lagman, who also once served as House Minority Leader and chairman of the House committee on appropriations.
Lagman identified the “safe” senators as Poe, who is running as independent for President, and the five others who would slug it out in the vice presidential race were Poe’s running mate Francis Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gregorio Honasan, Alan Peter Cayetano and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
All of them were elected in the 2013 elections and their six-year term would expire in 2019. Each senator is entitled to two six-year terms.
Of the seven vice presidential wannabes, Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who is the running mate of Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas II, is the only one who takes the risk because if she loses, there is no congressional seat to which she can return, Lagman said.
According to Lagman, under an implied and surreptitious repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code provided for in the Fair Election Act (R.A. 9006), and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), Poe, Escudero, Cayetano, Trillanes, Honasan and Marcos can all go back to the Senate once they lost the elections as the existing law has yet to be repealed or revised for future elections.
Section 26 of Comelec Resolution 3636 on the IRR implementing the Fair Election Act, which must also be struck down, Lagman said, provides: “Any elective official, whether national or local, who has filed a certificate of candidacy for the same or any other office, shall not be considered resigned from his office.”
“The question begging to be asked is if these six senators are deemed resigned upon filing of their certificates of candidacy for another position, are they going to take the risk?” Lagman said.
One who has been elected to a definite or fixed term must abide by the political mandate he has sought by serving out his term, he said.
“Ethics in politics also demands that an elective official during his incumbency must not abandon his office and turn his back on his constituents, only to return after a setback,” Lagman said.
If an elected official runs for another position or accepts an appointment during his incumbency, he must be considered automatically resigned from his position for ethical and moral reasons, Lagman stressed.
“I was not a member of the House of Representatives when this rider of a repeal was inserted in the Fair Election Act, which is principally to govern election propaganda,” Lagman pointed out.