It is no secret that Vice President Leni Robredo had previously expressed her worry about the legal fees involved in the electoral protest filed by Bongbong Marcos, contesting the results of the May 2016 vice presidential elections. And as a true Liberal Party and Aquino loyalist, former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda launched a fundraising campaign almost a year ago to help Robredo pay for the legal fees. ‘Piso Para Sa Laban Ni Leni,’ the campaign is called.
But now we ask the question: Is ‘ Piso’ a violation of the Philippine Constitution?
Republic Act No. 6713 establishes a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees to uphold the time-honored principle of public office being a public trust. It also lists prohibited acts and transactions pertaining to elected or appointed public officials.
Section 7 of the Act lists, among others, the following prohibition:
(d) Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. – Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.
From the looks of it, ‘ Piso’ is clearly in violation of RA 6713 — Robredo being an elected public official. It does not matter if it was private citizen Lacierda who initiated the fundraising campaign. The money raised will go to Robredo and her legal defense. Even non-lawyers like myself know that would constitute a “gift.”
Are Lacierda and Robredo being naive about the Constitution, or are they consciously ignoring this particular provision in a desperate attempt to hang on to what some are calling a ‘stolen vice presidency.’
Calling the Ombudsman. Oh wait, she may be in cahoots with Lacierda and Robredo. Nevermind.