THE Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) has issued a memorandum prohibiting its personnel from engaging in partisan politics, a day after Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya campaigned for presidential candidate Mar Roxas.
However, MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete clarified that Abaya can campaign for Roxas under Section 261 of Omnibus Election Code, which exempts political appointees from the prohibition.
Some MCIAA employees, who requested anonymity, divulged that Abaya made a round of campaigning at Mactan Cebu International Airport for Roxas last March 31.
But Villarete said Abaya was at the airport as speaker in the culmination of the MCIAA’s Gender and Development (GAD) program in relation to the Fire Prevention Month.
In the GAD program, women employees of MCIAA, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) were taught how to use fire extinguishers.
Villarete, though, confirmed that during his speech, Abaya campaigned for Roxas and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo for vice president so the gains of “daang matuwid” (straight path) will continue.
Abaya also campaigned for Roxas and Robredo during the Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting held at the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 office last April 1.
Abaya was wearing a Liberal Party T-shirt when he spoke at the RDC meeting attended by government officials and private sector representatives. Abaya is not part of RDC.
Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Eliseo Labaria told the media that Cabinet secretaries like Abaya are not covered by the election ban. However, some RDC members said Abaya and even Neda 7 may have violated the law for using government resources and venue in his campaign sorties.
Earlier, presidential candidates Grace Poe said that of all the Cabinet secretaries of the Aquino administration, Abaya has committed the biggest sin especially in the messy rehabilitation of the Light Rail Transit in Manila.
In his Memorandum Order 1469, which he issued a day after Abaya delivered a speech during GAD’s culmination, Villarete reiterated Office Order 26-2013, which he issued on April 12, 2013, regarding the observance of the relevant laws, rules and regulation in relation to May 2016 national and local elections.
Villarete cited Article IX B of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “no office or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign.”
Villarete also cited Section 4 of RA 6713, which states that “public officials and employees shall provide service to everyone without unfair discrimination and regardless of party affiliation or preference.”