“Public office is not a commodity that can be shared, apportioned or be made subject of any private agreement. Public office is vested with public interest that should not be reined by individual interest.”
This was the ruling of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in dismissing the Petition filed by the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Inc. (SENIOR CITIZENS PARTY-LIST), for confirmation of replacement of resigned party-list nominee.
The case arose from the resignation on December 31, 2012 of David Kho as Member of the House of Representatives to give way for the assumption of that office by the party-list organization’s fourth nominee, Remedios Arquiza.
But the COMELEC, in EM No. 12-040, promulgated June 27, 2012, dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
“Considering that it is an admitted fact that the resignation of Rep. Kho was made by virtue of a prior agreement of the parties, we resolve and hereby rule that we cannot recognize such arrangement and accordingly we cannot approve the movement in the order of nominees for being contrary to public policy,” according to COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes, the ponente of the case.
The Chairman added: “The term of office of public officials cannot be made subject to any agreement of private parties. Public office is not a commodity that can be shared, apportioned or be made subject of any private agreement. Public office is vested with public interest that should not be reined by individual interest.”
This ruling is in harmony with the poll body’s earlier pronouncement in Resolution No. 9366, which formalized the policy of disallowing term-sharing among party-list nominees. Sec. 7 of Resolution No. 9366 reads: Term-sharing of nominees – Filing of vacancy as a result of term-sharing agreement among nominees of winning party-list groups/organizations shall not be allowed. ###