MORE Cabinet officials have submitted their resignations to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling that deemed appointive officials running for public office resigned.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, in a chance interview during the 24th Edsa anniversary commemoration on Thursday, said he already submitted his courtesy resignation to the President last Tuesday but that he is still waiting for her decision.

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Ermita is eyeing for congressional seat in the first district of Batangas, which he formerly represented in three consecutive terms from 1992 to 2001.

President could still exercise her power on the resignation of the Cabinet officials since the decision is not yet final and executory.

“I have to resign because there is a Supreme Court decision,” said Ermita, adding that the effectivity of his resignation will depend on the President.

“We we’re submitting our resignation (but) it depends on the final decision of the President but legally, it’s okay for us to still be there because it is not yet final and executory, that is important,” said the Palace senior official.

Earlier, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said they will be filing motion for reconsideration and advised the Cabinet officials to stay in office since they are not violating any law for not immediately resigning.

Macalintal said that appointive officials should only be deemed resigned when the campaign period starts, which is on March 26.

In a separate interview, deputy presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said since the decision is not yet executory and the appointed officials still has de facto authority to the remain in their office at the same time being paid throughout the time they are serving.

“Officially he is no longer holding the position but there is de facto authority which he could still serve and he will still receive salary since there is a service rendered,” he said.

He further said that unless the decision is final, appointive officials could still serve and their service will still be recognized.

Aside from Ermita, others who have rendered their courtesy resignation were Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who are seeking for a congressional seat in Camarines Sur, Quezon Province, and Bohol, respectively.

“They submitted their resignation yesterday (Wednesday),” said Ermita.

Speaking during a phone patch interview with reporters, Devanadera said she submitted her letter of resignation to Arroyo Wednesday night but will stay on as head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the transition.

“I will just finish all things on my table, but I will still be here until a new secretary is appointed. There will be no gap in leadership at the DOJ,” she said.

Presidential Management Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who is running for congressman in his hometown in Pangasinan has submitted his resignation Thursday.

Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzales and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Buboy Syjuco are expected to follow their co-Cabinet members.

Meanwhile, Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza is among those being considered to replace Ermita.

Ermita though said he has still no idea on who will replace him as executive secretary.

Asked if he thinks Mendoza is good choice for his replacement, he said: “Anybody can make a good executive secretary but of course the President will choose someone who is experienced and has excellent background.”

As for Devanadera’s post, among those being touted as her successors are Solicitor General and government corporate counsel Alberto Agra, and former DOJ Undersecretary and now WTO Permanent Rep. Manuel Teehankee.

But Devanadera would not recommend any names as her replacement, saying it would be the discretion of the President.

The justice chief said the President expressed support for her endeavor. “She (Arroyo) said that ‘If you think there’s a competing use of your time, give up your office,’” Devanadera quoted Arroyo as saying in their conversation.

Saludo, for his part, said President Arroyo should still consider the transition of officials who will be resigning to the new head of the offices.

He pointed out that resignation should not interrupt public service and the work of governance since the offices which will be vacated are all crucial agencies. (Jill Beltran/With JCV/Sunnex)