It was the Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, who openly opposed it. She was emphatic in her argument: "It is important that this court deliver the correct message to 430,000 officials... We're basically saying that these 430,000 officials can commit administrative offenses ranging from simple misconduct all the way to serious misconduct, and dishonesty. They just have to ensure that they get re-elected and any preventive suspension or any investigation or an administrative finding by the Ombudsman will have to stop.”
“Is that the message that is going to be delivered if we continue with the condonation doctrine?" Sereno asked.
At the Senate, Miriam Defensor Santiago weighed in by filing a bill to cure this old doctrine that cripples the fight against corruption. She sought to amend the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act “by making an elective official liable for any violation of the Act although it was committed during a prior term and although the official was reelected.”
The bill was her response to Mayor Binay, who invoked the doctrine of condonation. “That is a cross-eyed simplification of the problem,” the outspoken senator said. “It is wrong to equate the reelection of a public official to condonation of his past criminal offenses.”
This legal doctrine has a long history, starting in the 1950s. Miguel Silos, in his Ateneo law school thesis, pointed out that at the time, the 1935 Constitution had no provisions on public office as a public trust or the duty of the State to maintain honesty and integrity in public office.
Under the 1987 Constitution, “more than any time in our history, it directs public officers to observe the strictest adherence to good conduct.” Silos argued that it is clear that “corruption, irresponsibility…are not to be tolerated and those who offend against these provisions must be removed from their positions…”
This big issue is now up to the Supreme Court to resolve – and it goes beyond Binay Jr and Morales. – Rappler.com