MANILA -- Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo called on appointed government officials to step down from their posts following the order of the high court.

“Yes if I were a candidate, to avoid criticisms, I will resign immediately because under the law, they should have resigned upon the filing of their certificate of candidacy (COC)," said Melo.

Earlier, the Supreme Court (SC) en banc overturned its December 1 ruling -- Eleazar Quinto vs the Commission on Elections (Comelec) -- that allowed appointed executives to pursue their bids without leaving their positions.

“They have been given almost four months extra time in government service, enjoying their positions and at the same time being able to campaign already,” said the poll body official.

Melo furthered that these appointive officials should no longer wait for the decision of the SC to be final and executory before they resign.

The Comelec chairman has also instructed the commission's legal department to study whether or not these officials that are also running in the 2010 polls may face election offenses.

"If they continue to discharge their functions, even if not connected to their political ambition, it may be a political offense. I'm having that studied. They can be disqualified," said Melo. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)