Monday, May 21, 2007

An Appeal to Senators

It is now 7 days after the midterm elections. At this time, those candidates for senators who are at the top half of the canvass results are almost sure of winning. However, as early as the campaign period those on top of surveys, and now are on top of the count, are not looking forward at occupying or re-occupying a senate seat but actually are eyeing the highest position in the land. There were rumors that some were not actually campaigning for the senate as they were sure of winning but were campaigning for the presidency instead.

This is not new in Philippine politics. Since the Fair Elections Act took effect in 2001, quite a number of elected Senators ran for elective positions in the elections coinciding with the third year of their six-year term. Before, if an incumbent official ran for an elective post other than his or her incumbent position, such official is deemed resigned. This provision has been repealed by the said law. Because of the repeal, we have the situation now wherein a senator in the third year of his or her term may be a candidate for any elective position (save Senator for such would not make sense) without being deemed resigned. If such senator wins, he or she will necessarily vacate his Senate seat and occupy the position where he won in. In the event he or she loses, the Senate seat is still there waiting. Thus, such a candidate is in no position of losing. (It is not surprising that the new law works primarily for the benefit of senators. They are the only ones with a six-year term whose term intersects with a Presidential election.)

Here now is my appeal. Admittedly this is made by one who pretends to be naive to the situtation. You campaigned for the Senate seat. You promised to serve as a Senator of the Republic. A Senator has a six-year not a three-year term. When you campaigned and promised to serve, this means that you campaigned for and promised to serve for a six-year term. I voted senatorial candidates for a six-year not a three-year term. I hold this as our agreement. Running for an elective post during the midterm elections is a breach of this agreement. No one wants to be the receiving end of a breach. I think this includes you.

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