OICs to take over Cabinet officials aspiring elective posts

MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday assured that government service will remain unhampered even as some Cabinet officials have been endorsed by ruling-party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to run for elective posts in the May 2022 elections.

Cabinet officials have yet to announce their intention to run in the upcoming elections, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set Oct. 1 to 8 as the filing of COCs (certificates of candidacy).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to assign officers-in-charge (OICs) to lead their respective agencies and departments should they file their COCs.

“Ang importante is miski magkaroon po ng bakante (What is important is that even if there are vacant positions), there will always be an officer-in-charge habang wala pang bagong appointment na nagagawa ang Presidente (while the President has yet to appoint someone new),” he said in a Palace press briefing. 

He said Duterte will also decide on whether or not he will consider appointing assistant secretaries or undersecretaries as OICs.

“That’s of course the decision of the President,” he added.

Under Comelec guidelines, appointive officials who filed their COCs will be deemed resigned from their posts.

Incumbent elective officials may run for an elective position without forfeiting their seats.

The PDP-Laban’s official senatorial candidates include Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade. and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez.

Its guest senatorial candidates, on the other hand, are Roque, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Greco Belgica, and House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta.

Roque has expressed gratitude over his endorsement, but maintained that he is setting aside his political ambitions to focus on his role as the President’s mouthpiece.

To recall, he was first appointed as Duterte’s spokesperson in October 2017 but resigned in 2018 to run for a seat in the House of Representatives under the Luntiang Pilipinas partylist.

He later decided to run for senator but eventually withdrew his plan due to health reasons.

However, he returned as presidential spokesperson in April last year. (PNA) 

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