MANILA – Several lawmakers advised Cabinet members and executives who were eyeing elective positions in next year’s national elections to resign so that they would not be given the wrong impression of using government resources for political aims.
Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was ahead, already resigning as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers last Monday. Binay had earlier publicly expressed his interest in joining the presidential race in the coming elections.
Senator JV Ejercito, one of the lawmakers who gave the advice, deemed it unfair for government officials to be seen as exploiting government funds for personal gains.
“Others should follow Binay out of delicadeza…They may not be aware of it, but they’re using government machinery and resources for their own personal gains,” Ejercito said in a forum.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, also one of those who advised, recommended that Cabinet officials resign early from their appointive positions. He stated that the longer the officials stayed in the administration, the more explaining they may have to do later on.
“The more government projects you inaugurate, the more goodies you distribute, the more the charge that you used government resources,” Pimentel said in a phone interview.
“They should be able to confront the allegations or charges that they used resources,” he added.
Senator Vicente Sotto III and Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon’s statements agreed with Pimentel. They noted that resigning as early as now would ‘remove suspicion that public funds were being used to advance their political plans.’
“If they want to avoid the public perception that they might be using their position or office to campaign, the earlier they resign, the better,” Sotto said in a text message.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, on the other hand, believed that President Benigno Aquino III should take the initiative to ask his Cabinet members with political ambitions for the coming elections to resign.
“Delicadeza dictates that they should resign if they want to run for higher office. It is very trapo (traditional politician) for these Cabinet members to use their positions and people’s money to promote their names via media exposures, ad placements masquerading as tips,” Zarate said.
Malacañang, for their part, defended the Cabinet members and executives. They claimed that the officials were only doing their jobs, electoral ambitions aside.