2022 PH electoral process

#PHVote Guides: Who can run for reelection?

Michelle Abad

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#PHVote Guides: Who can run for reelection?
Depending on positions, there are officials who can seek the same office for three consecutive terms. Then there's one official – the president – who 'shall not be eligible for any reelection.'

As political camps start the process of selecting their candidates for various posts in the 2022 Philippine elections, there are politicians who are angling for certain positions while others are being coy about their plans.

Is this governor running for then same position? Can this congressman seek the mayorship or governorship? Is this senator finish the remainder of a six-year term if he or she loses in the vice presidential race? Can President Rodrigo Duterte run for vice president?

Here are the things you should know about reelections in the Philippines:

What is a ‘reelection’?

The 1987 Constitution and the Local Government Code set the number of consecutive terms an elected official can serve in the same position. 

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, reelection in our laws means election to the same office in. Add to that – in a regular election in the same constituency.

Succession – or when a politician assumes a post after their predecessor either dies, steps down, or is removed from office – is not included in the counting of term limits, according to election lawyer Emil Marañon.

Local posts

According to the Section 43 of the Local Government Code, the term for a local position is three years. 

The same section reads: “No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected.”

This means a local official can run for reelection twice, or serve three terms. He or she can occupy the same office for nine consecutive years.

This provision covers the following:

Provincial government

  • Governor
  • Vice governor
  • Sangguniang panlalawigan

City government

  • City mayor
  • City vice mayor
  • Sangguniang panlungsod

Municipal government

  • Municipal mayor
  • Municipal vice mayor
  • Sangguniang bayan
Legislative posts

In the House of Representatives, the elected officials follow the same limits as local posts: three-year singular terms, with a limit of three consecutive terms.

This applies to both district representatives and party list representatives, according to the 1987 Constitution.

In the case of the party list, it means a party can only nominate an individual to represent it in Congress for three consecutive terms. The party, however, is allowed to get a seat beyond three terms, as long as it garners the required number of votes.

Meanwhile, senators enjoy six-year terms, with a maximum of two consecutive terms. This means they can run for reelection once, for a total of 12 consecutive years in the Senate.

President and vice president

The two highest government posts have six-year terms. The vice president can run for reelection once, for a maximum of two consecutive terms – just like a senator.

The president is prohibited from seeking reelection, according to the 1987 Constitution.

Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution says: “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 reelection.”

Still, legal experts have varying opinions on how the term limit on the president is applied. (READ: Can Duterte run for VP? What the Constitution says)

Far Eastern University Law Dean Mel Sta Maria says the word “any” should apply to both the presidency and the vice presidency – Duterte is not eligible for reelection to either posts.

University of the Philippines constitutional law professor John Molo says, however, that there is no outright prohibition for a sitting president to run for the lower office. In fact, two past presidents in recent history have run for – and won – lower post: Joseph Estrada, who became mayor Manila, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who became congresswoman of Pampanga. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.