Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why President-Elect?

Today marks a momentous occasion in which Noynoy Aquino and Jejomar Binay were proclaimed by the joint congress as President-elect and Vice-President-elect, respectively.

The term President-elect has been thrown around lately, although as to why the term is being used may be unclear to Juan dela Cruz.

Why can't we call Aquino Mr. President yet? Because the Presidency will be turned over only June 30, when he will be inaugurated as the President.

Until then, our president is still you-know-who.

Before today (when Congress was still canvassing the votes), Aquino was not even President-elect yet. We only assumed that he's going to be the next President because partial and unofficial counts showed he was ahead by a wide margin.

In the eyes of the Constitution, he was still a mere candidate.

But after the proclamation by Congress earlier, we can now officially refer to him as the President-elect.

It has important consequences, especially when it comes to vacancy.

Section 7, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution reads:
The President-elect and the Vice President-elect shall assume office at the beginning of their terms.

If the President-elect fails to qualify, the Vice President-elect shall act as President until the President-elect shall have qualified.

If a President shall not have been chosen, the Vice President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified.

If at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the Vice President-elect shall become President.

Where no President and Vice-President shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as President until a President or a Vice-President shall have been chosen and qualified.

The first paragraph pertains to the start of their term, "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." (Sec 4, Art VII)

The second paragraph will not come into operation, presumably because both Aquino and Binay are qualified.

(Note: It's not really hard to be a qualified candidate, you just need to be a natural-born citizen, registered voter, be able to read and write, be at least 40 years old on election day, and be a resident for at least 10 years prior to elections. [Sec 2, Art VII])

Third paragraph will not come into play, since there is no question that the voters had chosen their President-elect.

The fourth and fifth paragraphs are crucial: if something untoward happens to Aquino and/or Binay (knock on wood), these will come into play.

Hopefully, nothing bad happens to both Aquino and Binay between now and June 30. The Constitution's Section 7, Article VII works best if it's not used at all, and relegated to sexennial trivia.

Photo: Jeffrey Avellanosa, Wikimedia, Creative Commons

1 comment:

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