Appointive government officials who file their Certificates of Candidacy are considered as deemed resigned while incumbent elective officials may run for an elective position without forfeiting their seats.
Election season is upon us and many political hopefuls hail from the government. What would happen to them if they file Certificates of Candidacy for the coming election, whether in the local or national level?
This issue has been originally answered in the case of Fariñas vs. Executive Secretary [ G.R. No. 147387, 10 December 2003] where the Supreme Court ruled that appointive officials are deemed resigned while elective officials can continue with their functions upon the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy. It held that substantial distinctions exist between the two types of officials to warrant a separate treatment. It must be remembered that Art. IX-B, Section 2 (4) of the 1987 Constitution prohibits civil service employees from engaging in any electioneering or partisan political campaign. On the other hand, elective officials, by the nature of their office, engage in partisan political activities. The Supreme Court added that “elective officials occupy their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. They are elected to an office for a definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions. On the other hand, appointive officials hold their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing authority. Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.”
This doctrine was disturbed in the 2009 decision of the Supreme Court in Quinto vs. Comelec [G.R. No. 189698, 01 December 2009], where it overturned the doctrine in the Fariñas Case and held that in considering persons holding appointive positions as ipso facto resigned from their posts upon the filing of their Certificates of Candidacy, but not considering as resigned all other civil servants, specifically the elective ones, the law unduly discriminates against the first class. Thus, appointive officials were placed in the same level as elective officials such that they may continue to hold on to their government posts despite the filing of their Certificates of Candidacy.
However, in a rare moment, the Supreme Court overturned itself, when a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by the Commission on Elections. Thus, in its Resolution dated 22 February 2010 covering the same case, the Supreme Court reverted to the Fariñas doctrine. It held that there are substantial distinctions between appointive and elective officials to warrant a different treatment.
Consequently, as it stands (for now), it is the prevailing rule that appointive government officials who file their Certificates of Candidacy are considered as deemed resigned while incumbent elective officials may run for an elective position without forfeiting their seats.
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