Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic Corporation shows the use of a Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headquarters in Manila on Tuesday. Use of the PCOS in the 2016 elections is still up in the air after the Supreme Court voided Comelec's maintenance contract with Smartmatic last April.(MNS photo)

Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic Corporation shows the use of a Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headquarters in Manila on Tuesday. Use of the PCOS in the 2016 elections is still up in the air after the Supreme Court voided Comelec’s maintenance contract with Smartmatic last April. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Wednesday reminded Cabinet officials who plan to run in the 2016 national elections to be mindful of their actions, lest they be accused of early politicking.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Cabinet officials are “expected to abide by the norms of good governance and ethical conduct.”

“This implies adherence to the election code and other related laws and conducting themselves in such a way that their actions will not be perceived as tantamount to engaging to partisan political activity,” he said.

He added that Cabinet members who have plans for the 2016 elections “would be well advised to conduct themselves in a manner that would not be misconstrued as politicking.”

Coloma nevertheless pointed out that no member of President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet has formally declared intention to be a candidate in the 2016 polls.

Resign now

Opposition lawmakers such as Senator JV Ejercito and Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon have earlier called on Cabinet officials to resign if they plan to seek public office next year.

Some Cabinet secretaries, including Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva and Energy chief Jericho Petilla already have television advertisements.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) nevertheless said that government officials who plan to run in the 2016 polls do not need to resign before they file their Certificates of Candidacy this coming October.

Focused on governance

Presidential spokesman Sec. Edwin Lacierda, for his part, said the Aquino Cabinet’s priority is still governance even as the election season draws near.

“While we understand that the campaign season seemed to have started early for some, the Aquino administration continues to focus on the mandate to serve our countrymen by focusing on people, health, education and infrastructure among others,” Lacierda said in a separate text message.

“In due time, the political campaign season will start but until such time, government will focus on governance,” he added.

Lacierda had earlier said the public should not mistake the Cabinet officials’ government work for early campaigning.(MNS)