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P-Noy breaks no law when endorsing LP bets

/ 04:15 AM March 17, 2016

President Aquino is not violating the Constitution or any election laws, rules and regulations as he campaigns for and endorses the candidates of the Liberal Party, even in his television appearances and advertisements.

This is so because Mr. Aquino is an elected, not an appointed, government official.  The laws and regulations that implement Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits civil service officers and employees from engaging, directly or indirectly, in partisan political activities or any form of electioneering, apply only to appointed officials and not to elected officials.

In Quinto vs Comelec, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional ban does not cover elected officials because “elected officials, by the very nature of their office, engage in partisan political activities almost all year round, even outside of the campaign period. Political partisanship is the inevitable essence of a political office, elective positions included.”

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The Court further emphasized that under the Administrative Code of 1987 which implements that provision of the Constitution, it is provided that public officers and employees “holding political offices may take part in political and electoral activities.”

Clearly, Sen. Chiz Escudero has no legal basis to question Mr. Aquino’s role in LP political activities nor assail Mr. Aquino’s political right to endorse the candidates of his choice.

Escudero, like Aquino, is also an elected official.  If Aquino is not allowed to endorse any candidate because he is an elected official, then the same should be applied to Escudero as they are both elected officials.  If an elected official like Escudero could engage in partisan political activities, then an elected official like Aquino could also do the same.  What is sauce for Escudero should likewise be sauce for Mr. Aquino.

—ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, election lawyer, Las Piñas City

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Chiz Escudero, Elections 2016, Liberal Party
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