Miriam Santiago files bill to make officials liable for past actions

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill making an elective official liable for any violation of the Anti-Graft Act although the violation was committed during a prior term and although the official was reelected. The Senator pursues to revise Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, thru making an elective official liable for any violation of the Anti-Graft Act although the violation was committed during a prior term and although the official was reelected.

Senate Bill No. 2716 has been filed after the camp of embattled Makati mayor Junjun Binay claimed that he should not be prosecuted over the alleged overpricing of the Makati parking building, because the alleged anomalies happened during his previous term of office.

Santiago said, “that is a cross-eyed simplification of the problem. The first qualification for a public office should be honesty or integrity. It is wrong to equate the reelection of a public official to condonation of his past criminal offenses.”

Binay’s legal representatives cited the1959 Supreme Court decision by the Supreme Court wherein it prohibited the court from disciplining an elective official for a wrongful act committed during his immediately preceding term of office.
The senator said it is “very disturbing that the Pascual ruling was reiterated in the 2010 case of Salumbides v. Ombudsman. The two cases were cited as bases for the so-called principle of condonation.”

“The result would be ludicrous. Any public official will feel free to commit any crime, including plunder, and thus winning reelection, if it automatically means that his previous crimes are condoned,” said Santiago.