MANILA—A senator on Thursday said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano does not need to resign as senator until after the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirms his nomination as Foreign Affairs Secretary.
In a Kapihan press conference, Sen. Francis Escudero said that it is up to Cayetano to decide whether he wanted to wait until confirmation before he resigns as senator or he could resign and assume functions of Foreign Affairs Secretary but only with limited functions.
“…Hindi niya kailangan magbitiw hangga’t hindi siya nako-confirm…or pwede siyang magbitiw na, assume the functions of the secretary immediately but there are certain acts that he cannot perform until he is confirmed (He doesn’t need to resign until he hasn’t been confirmed…or he can resign now, assume the functions of the secretary immediately but there are certain acts that he cannot perform until he is confirmed),” Escudero said.
Escudero, however, pointed out that if Cayetano resigns before his confirmation, he might lose his spot in the Senate if his confirmation is rejected.
“Para maiwasan yung nangyari gaya nga nung nasabi ko kanina na nag-resign na tapos hindi na-confirm e hindi ka na secretary, hindi ka pa senador (This is to avoid what I said that you resign and then you were not confirmed. You’re not secretary, you’re not senator either),” he added.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier expressed hope that Cayetano could be easily confirmed as he is seating Senator and member of the appointments body.
However, Escudero said that this is possible but did not rule out the possibility that Cayetano could still be rejected.
“Sa kasaysayan ng Commission on Appointments, may mga pagkakataon na ginawa yan pero may pagkakataon din na ni-reject nila ang isang dating miyembro particular (In the history of the Commission on Appointments, there are instances that (acclamation) was done but there are also instances that they rejected a former member),” Escudero sad.
Escudero said it is still the CA to decide if the process of confirming Cayetano would be speedy or would have to be as lengthy as other nominees.
“So desisyon at pasya ng Commission on Appointments and kung by acclamation o kung papadaanin nila sa butas ng karayom (It’s still the decision of the CA if they’ll confirm him by acclamation or if they let him pass though the eye of a needle),” he explained.
Once Cayetano vacates his seat, Escudero said that it is possible to replace him but only if a law is passed in the Congress calling for “special elections” which rarely happens since it is costly.
He also dispelled the notion that the 13th senator elected during the last May 2016 elections — in this case, former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino — could take his place.
“Hindi pwedeng maupo yung ika-labintatlo dahil talo siya. Hindi pwedeng maupo at pumalit sa pwesto ng isang nawala, nag-resign o namatay ang isang kandidatong natalo sa halalan (It is not possible for the 13th senator to sit because he lost. A candidate who lost in the elections cannot sit and replace the senator who left, resigned or died),” Escudero explained.
Escudero said that he doesn’t see any problems that may prevent his Cayetano from getting CA’s nod.