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1987 Charter allows Erap 2016 prexy run

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(BY: ATTY. BATAS  MAURICIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life…” (Galatians 6:7-8, the Holy Bible).

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1987 CHARTER ALLOWS ERAP TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016: Can Manila Mayor Joseph Erap Estrada run for the presidency in 2016, now that the Supreme Court declared that, on account of the pardon given him by former President Arroyo, he had been restored to his civil and political rights, including his right to run for public office?

My own reading of the 1987 Constitution is that, yes, Estrada can run for president again in 2016. And to better understand this point, allow me to reproduce what the Constitution says on this matter.

Under its Section 4, Art. VII, the Constitution provides, in part: “The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date, six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any re-election…”

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THE DISQUALIFICATION VS. RE-ELECTION IS FOR A SITTING PREXY: Indeed, there is a prohibition against “any re-election” of the President. But what exactly does the Constitution mean by the words “any re-election”? And, who is the “President” referred to in Section 4 as not being eligible for “any re-election”?

The portion of Section 4, Art. VII, that is reproduced here talks about an incumbent president, who is given a six-year term. It is to this president that the prohibition against “any re-election” is addressed. In other words, it is the president who is serving his six-year term that the prohibition covers.

What this means is that, a sitting president who is finishing his term as a new election for president is to be held, which election of a new president will signify the end of his term, is disqualified from seeking re-election. The word “any” that precedes the word “re-election” on the other hand contemplates a situation where the incumbent president may or may not have served out or finished his term, for any reason.

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NO JUSTIFICATION FOR PROHIBITING A FORMER PRESIDENT TO RUN: The important thing to remember in all these is this: the prohibition against re-election applies to a president seeking a new mandate right after finishing his six-year term, or right after his supposed term of six years just expired, whether or not he fully served that term.

The clear objective is the prevention of a second term for a president who has just finished his term, or whose term of six years had just been finished, whether he stayed on as president or not, to avoid perpetuating one single person in power. It was actually meant to address the phenomenon created by former President Marcos who managed to run, again and again, after finishing his original terms.

In the case of a president who did not run immediately after serving out his six-year term, or after he had been booted out of that six-year term for any reason, there is no prohibition as against him to run again, simply because the supposed justification for preventing a re-election—which is the avoidance of perpetuating anyone in the presidency—is no longer present.

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PLEASE LISTEN: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac”, jointly aired at DZEC, 1062 kHz in Manila, 1080 kHz in Dagupan City, 711 kHz in Naga City, 1260 kHz in Lucena City, 1224 kHz in Davao City, and at www.eaglenews.phMondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas”, at 103.7 mHz in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Mondays to Fridays, at 7 a.m.; at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, at 10 a.m.; at 107.5 Win FM, Roxas, Isabela (Saturday, 5:30 a.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.); and at 92.7 Smile FM, San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur at 8 a.m.
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