Tuesday, June 14, 2016

No 'liberal' interpretation of RA 7166 could save the Liberal Party

Let us practice some logical analysis here;

Paragraph No. 2 of Section 14 of RA 7166 reads:

"No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required."

Now, a liberal reading of the provision implies that any candidate can file a statement of contributions and expenditure (SOCE) anytime beyond the 30 days prescribed by law, and can only be fined and would be prevented from entering upon the duties of his office until he files the SOCE.

Okay.  Fine.  Let us grant this liberal interpretation without necessarily agreeing to it.

But let us now take paragraph No. 3 of Section 14 of the same law that applies to political parties, which reads:

"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."

So, what is that prohibition which is being referred to?  IT IS THE PROHIBITION OF NOT BEING ABLE TO ENTER UPON THE DUTIES OF HIS OFFICE.

Now, please note that the law is very specific --the prohibition applies if the political party fails to file the SOCE within the 30 days prescribed by the law.  Take note that there is no mention of any clause that candidates nominated by a party can assume their posts when the party eventually files the SOCE even if such is late.  There is no statement to the effect that "no person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until the political party which nominated him has filed the SOCE herein required."

You see, the escape clause of "unti he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required" only applies to individual candidates, and not to political parties.

But wait.  A smart lawyer can point out that the prohibition, when liberally construed, is not the fact that one is prohibited from assuming a post, but is in fact the act of not being allowed to enter upon the duties of his office until he files his SOCE.

But then again, take note of the illogical application of the prohibition for parties, if such is the case, for the question of agency would be problematic.  The statement speaks only of the candidate filing the SOCE, albeit late, and not the political party.

Besides, if we allow this interpretation, it will effectively render the third paragraph of Section 14 of RA 7166 useless, for all it takes is for an individual candidate of a party to file his own SOCE, since that would cure the defect of the party not filing a SOCE.  Ridiculous, isn't it?  If this is the case, why even have a provision for parties?

So, the way i see it, no matter how you twist the words of the law, there is no other liberal interpretation that can at the same time be logical and remain faithful to the intent of RA 7166, that can save the LP from the consequence of its failure to file the party's SOCE within the period prescribed.

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Antonio Contreras as posted on Facebook:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10205526183548135&id=1658231410

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