By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
A member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) can’t hide his disappointment after the poll body’s decision to uphold the recent appointment former AA-Kasosyo Party-list nominee Mocha Uson as deputy executive director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Authority (OWWA).
“The ban applies to the party-list, not her (Uson), because she was only a nominee. Kailan po ba kayo nakarinig ng party-list na inappoint sa isang posisyon sa gobyerno?” Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun said in jest.
Fortun’s statement came as a reaction to the statement made by Commission on Elections (COMELEC) spokesman James Jimenez that Uson’s appointment is valid because the one-year ban applies only to the party-list group and not the nominee.
Fortun warned that such argument that “would mean the three-term limit for members of the House of Representatives should not apply to a party-list nominee who has served a third term.”
“He or she can be a nominee for a fourth consecutive term because the candidate in the previous three elections was not him or her, but the party-list. Hence, he or she is not a candidate for a fourth term,” said Fortun.
“Applying the same principle, does it follow that a party-list nominee holding a public post need not resign, or cannot be deemed resigned, because he or she is not a candidate? Hindi niya kailangang mag-resign, o hindi siya considered resigned, dahil hindi naman siya kumakandidato,” he added.
Jimenez, in a radio interview, said the one-year ban on losing candidates does not apply to party-list nominees, but to the actual party-list only.