Press Release
February 23, 2010

Villar to Palace: Respect SC ruling on Cabinet men

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday urged Malacañang to release members of the Cabinet running for the May elections, saying the Arroyo administration should respect the decision of the Supreme Court and consider the high court recent ruling as immediately executory.

"President Arroyo should not wait a minute longer in signing the release papers of the members of her Cabinet who are running for elective posts. The High Court has already spoken," Villar said.

"I also warn the Arroyo administration from seeking a reconsideration of the decision, as it would only lead to objectionable results."

First, the senator said, these Cabinet officials may be accused of using their office to gain advantage over their political opponents.

"And second, the quality of services delivered to the people may suffer as those who lead these departments and agencies would be preoccupied with election-related matters," he said.

"It would also allow the replacements of these officials to fill in the gap and ensure the delivery of basic services to the people," he said.

The SC has recently reversed its earlier decision and said that appointive officials are now deemed resigned once they file their certificates of candidacy.

Villar lauded the highest court of the land for rectifying its decision that gave appointive officials an advantage against their opponents this coming election by virtue of their respective positions.

The senator, however, said even with the SC decision, these Cabinet officials would still need an order from President Arroyo in order to comply with the court's directives.

"The order must come from the top, especially if the decision of the SC is not yet final and executory. They cannot just pack their bags and leave. They turn to the appointing authority for guidance and President Arroyo should give it to them," Villar said.

Among those who will be affected by the decision are: Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez and Presidential Management Staff Director General Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

All of these Cabinet officials are eyeing congressional seats, save for Gonzalez who is running for mayor of Iloilo City.

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