MANILA – Amidst questions on his stay in office, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II explained that there is no need for him to resign from his position right now as he has not yet declared running for president or vice president in next year’s national elections.
“That should be the case… Anyone who has declared plans to run should do that (resign). The right time will come and when that time comes, you will know about it,” Roxas said.
The Interior Secretary, however, remains mum on his political plans. For now, he focuses on his duties as the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Caloocan City Representative Edgar Erice, one of Roxas’ supporters, said that the ruling Liberal Party (LP) is rooting on Roxas as its presidential bid.
“Secretary Roxas has integrity, competence, experience, no bad record. The country’s in safe hands as he continues the gains of the Aquino administration,” Erice said, hoping that Roxas will declare his candidacy before or after the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, for his part, has not yet endorsed any presidential candidate for the coming elections. He says that he will announce his preferred successor after he delivers his SONA next month.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified that there is no such policy of requiring Cabinet members and government secretaries to resign from their posts should they seek elective posts in the coming year.
“It’s de facto. [You are] deemed resigned. Meaning, you don’t have to resign but you are automatically resigned,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said, explaining what would happen once politicians file their certificates of candidacy (COCs) as stated in the Omnibus Election Code.
Elected government officials seeking higher or lower office, however, are exempted from the election rule.
“This is the reason there are senators who run for higher office, for president or whatever, and if they do not win, they will go back to the Senate. That is the rule,” Jimenez added.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay recently resigned as the as the chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the presidential adviser on OFW Affairs.
Roxas, on the other hand, is not pressured to do the same.
“Unlike other presidential hopefuls, Sec. Roxas has not yet declared his intention to run for any elective position and need not hand in his resignation,” Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas said.