Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Taking a Cabinet position in the Duterte government does not negate Bongbong Marcos's electoral protest at all!


The seasoned election lawyer is reported to have stated that should Bongbong Marcos accept a cabinet post after one year, that it will be bad for his impending electoral protest against Leni Robredo.

Atty. Macalintal offers two reasons for this.

1.  Accepting a cabinet post after one year is an admission that Marcos lost, since the one-year ban is only for losing candidates.

2.  A cabinet post would render as null any protest and could be taken as a waiver.

With all due respect, I think the good lawyer is again wrong on both grounds.

On point 1.  While the 14 million who voted for Marcos certainly believe that he won, unfortunately under the law Mrs. Robredo has already been proclaimed. Hence, since we are a government of laws, Marcos and President Duterte will have to abide by the one-year prohibition against appointing candidates who were declared to have lost in the official canvassing, but without prejudice to such candidates accepting a post in the cabinet more so that a successful electoral protest, to which any losing candidate is entitled, would lead to an elected office that is not constitutionally barred from holding a cabinet position. Marcos ran for Vice President and if his protest is successful he will occupy that post. Under the 1987 Constitution, a Vice President may be appointed to the Cabinet.

On point 2. It is also for the above reason that the argument that taking a cabinet position will moot an existing protest may not necessarily hold when the post being contested is that of the Vice President.  Senator Legarda's protest against then VP De Castro was deemed mooted because she ran for the Senate and one could not be both a Senator and a Vice President at the same time.  The same logic applied when Senator Santiago's protest against President Ramos was mooted when she ran for the Senate.

And to remind Atty. Macalintal, the protest by Mar Roxas against VP Binay was not mooted when the former was appointed by President Aquino to his cabinet.  Until before filing his certificate of candidacy for President, the election protest was still a live case with the PET.

Antonio Contreras as posted on Facebook:

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