LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming…” (Colossians 3:5-6, the Holy Bible).
NO, LENI WON’T BE DISQUALIFIED: No, I don’t think Leni Robredo will be barred by the Commission on Elections from assuming the vice presidency, even if, at this point, she and the Liberal Party failed to submit the statement of contributions and expenses which Republic Act 7166 requires to be submitted by candidates and their parties within 30 days after an election.
The reason is that, under the law, the prohibition against her assuming the position she won applies only while she and her party are unable to file the desired statement. Once Robredo and the Liberal Party are able to file that statement, even after the 30-day period from the elections, she can already start being vice president.
The law is clear. Let us reproduce a part of it, which is self-explanatory: “No person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required. The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate fails to file the statement required herein within the period prescribed by this Act.”
BUT, DID LENI FILE HER SOCE IN 2013? The operative phrase here is this: “until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required.” The evident intent of the law is to compel the winning candidate to submit the statement, so that the prohibition from assuming the position applies only while the statement has not been filed yet.
But, once the statement is filed, even beyond the deadline set by the law, the reason for the prohibition is removed. There would then be no legal obstacle to the candidate to assume office. I am sure that Leni Robredo and the Liberal Party will find time to submit the desired statement before June 30, 2016.
However, her detractors and the political foes of the Liberal Party may want to look into her past compliance with the law. The fact is that, Robredo is an incumbent congresswoman of Camarines Sur, having been elected to that position in 2013, largely on account of the plane crash that killed her husband in 2012, then incumbent Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
PERPETUAL DISQUALIFICATION FROM OFFICE: Why would Leni’s opponents want to look into whether or not she filed her statement in 2013? Because under RA 7166, when a candidate shall have failed to file the desired statement of contributions and expenditures more than once, he or she would then be perpetually disqualified from holding any elective position.
Here is what the law says about this: “For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this section, the administrative fine shall be from Two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) to Sixty thousand pesos (P60,000.00), in the discretion of the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.”
Note must be taken of the fact that the perpetual disqualification mentioned by the law is couched in the word “shall”, which signifies that such disqualification is mandatory in nature. If Leni’s foes can prove that she also did not file her statement in 2013, then, she is not only disqualified to assume the vice presidency. She would even be disqualified from running for the vice presidency, or for any position, for that matter!
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