Senators vying for higher office urged to quit post


Candidates in the 2016 national elections should resign from their incumbent elective posts right after filing their certificates of candidacy (COC) two weeks from now.

Buhay Hayaang Yumabong party-list Rep. Joselito Atienza made the call on Thursday since, he said, existing election laws allow incumbent senators elected in a mid-term elections to run for Vice President or President and return to their previous post as senators and finish their term if they lose their bid for higher office.

Atienza did not name names, but Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, who are running for President and Vice President in 2016, respectively, were both elected last 2013 and they can return to their Senate duties should they lose in 2016.

Under the old Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines or Batas Pambansa 881, any elected official, whether national or local, running for any office other than the one that he is holding in a permanent capacity, except for President and Vice President, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon filing of his COC.

“Nababoy ang pulitika natin [Our politics became hogwash]. Our laws effectively allowed a reversion to the malpractice of the past where senators and congressmen who ran for higher office but lost could conveniently go back to their positions after the elections. This distorted our political system,” Atienza pointed out.

“What we are seeing now is a mad scramble for positions thru compromises and backroom dealings. This is not democracy, this is demo-crazy,” he said.

Atienza also called for the restoration of the two party-system because the current one discourages candidates from making a go for it because of financial incapacity.

He then cited that the Nacionalista Party alone has three candidates for Vice President, namely, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes 4th.

“What kind of election is that? Who will the voters choose in such a setting? Anong klaseng eleksyon ang mangyayari? Sinong kandidato ang pipiliin ng mga tao [What kind of election will take place? Which candidate will the people choose]? Political parties have practically rendered themselves inutile and meaningless,” Atienza said.

“There is an urgent need to review our electoral processes and the role of political parties in our democracy,” he added.


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