Comelec exec: Not illegal for winning candidates to take oath before June 30

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) ⁠— Duly proclaimed winners of the elections are not prohibited from taking their oath before June 30, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Tuesday.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia made the clarification after Davao City Mayor and presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte announced she plans to hold her oath-taking on June 19 in her hometown. Duterte explained her reason behind the plan, saying she intends to attend the inauguration of her running mate, leading presidential bet Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., on the last day of June.

"I will not answer specifically as regards to the vice president-elect taking her oath in advance of June 30," Garcia said in a press briefing. "Pero gusto ko lang mag-cite ng example. Madami pong mga nanalong congressmen, senators, pagka-proclaim sa kanila, nag-o-oath kaagad."

[Translation: There are several winning congressmen and senators who immediately take their oath after proclamation.]

According to Garcia, what is not allowed by the Constitution is assuming office before noon of June 30.

"Basta ang usapan lang [...], number one, mag-assume at exactly 12:01 (p.m.), at number two, dapat 'yung content ng kanilang oath ay 'yung nakalagay sa Constitution," he said.

[Translation: The only rules are that they should assume office at exactly 12:01 p.m., and that the content of their oath should be what is stated in the Constitution.]

The commissioner added it is possible for winning candidates to take their oath more than once.

"Especially sa mga local," he said. "Yung iba kasi...makapag-party, makapagpakain, makapagpasalamat nag o-oath kahit kay kapitan muna…pero 'yung formal oath can happen later…There is no prohibition that you will have several oaths," he said.

[Translation: Especially for local officials. Others prefer to take their oath in advance before the barangay captain first, just so they could hold a party or thank supporters, and the formal oath-taking can happen later. There is no prohibition on having several oaths.]