Malacañang does not see the need for Cabinet members who will seek elective office next year to resign until they file their certificates of candidacy in October.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Cabinet’s priority is governance even as the election season draws near.
“While we understand that the campaign season seemed to have started early for some, the Aquino administration continues to focus on the mandate to serve our countrymen by focusing on people, health, education and infrastructure among others,” Lacierda said.
“In due time, the political campaign season will start but until such time, government will focus on governance,” he added.
In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. reminded Cabinet officials to be mindful of their actions, lest they be accused of early politicking.
“Cabinet secretaries and all other government officials are expected to abide by the norms of good governance and ethical conduct. This implies adherence to the election code and other related laws and conducting themselves in such a way that their actions will not be perceived as being tantamount to engaging in partisan political activity,” he said.
Coloma however pointed out that no member of the Cabinet has formally declared intention to run in 2016.
“Those that may be inclined to do so would be well advised to conduct themselves in a manner that would not be misconstrued as ‘politicking’ by our bosses, the Filipino people,” he added.
The call for the resignation of Cabinet members and government officials planning to run in the 2016 elections intensified after Vice President Jejomar Binay resigned from the Cabinet.
President Aquino said earlier he is preparing for the exit of Cabinet secretaries who will either run in 2016 or pursue other plans.
Last month, Aquino announced that Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd remained on top of his list of presidential candidates that he would endorse although consultations within the administration coalition were still ongoing.
The other Cabinet members who are reportedly seeking elective posts include Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Joel Villanueva and presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization Francis Pangilinan.