What do former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman and former singer Celeste Legaspi have in common?
No, not hair color. Legaspi’s grey hair appears to be part of the natural aging process while Soliman’s constantly-changing streaks is the result of artificial hair coloring.
What’s common between the two personalities is that both are supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo and are among a group of women that has taken up the cudgels of helping the Vice President raise funds to help defray the costs of challenging former Senator Bongbong Marcos’ electoral protest relating to the accuracy and authenticity of the votes for VP in last year’s Philippine national elections.
Aside from Legaspi and Soliman, the others in the group that calls itself the “formidable six” are Mel Alonso, Karina Bolasco, Nina Yuson and Paulynne Sicam. The group claims that there are a lot of other women leaders involved but “who for valid reasons must remain anonymous.” Advising the group is pro bono lawyer Atty. Pingky Bartolomme-Barnabe. (Source: Philippine Star)
Politikal Pinoy personally knows of others who have publicly announced their contribution to “Piso Para Sa Laban Ni Leni,” the fundraising initiative aimed at raising money for Robredo’s legal fees.
We have recently questioned whether the fundraising campaign is in violation of the Constitution which prohibits public officials from receiving gifts.
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.
Some offer the excuse that since proceeds from “Piso Para Kay Leni” are not given DIRECTLY to Robredo, but rather towards the fulfillment of the required legal fees, then it does not violate the Constitution. But the law is clear that acceptance of gifts is prohibited — directly or indirectly. (If I pay for someone’s air fare as a a gift, it is still a gift even if I paid the airline directly for that person’s plane ticket using cash or my credit card.)
Then, the group admits that it has filed a petition allowing it to submit directly to the Presidential Electorial Tribunal (PET) the amount raised cost to help defray the deposit required of the VP for the recount. There lies the group’s inconsistency: claiming that its fundraising campaign is not against the law while recognizing that it needs imprimatur from the Supreme Court (acting as the PET).
They also claim that Robredo herself has nothing to do with the initiative, although they have informed her of their intentions to help with the legal fees. The fact that the Vice President — as far as we know — has not objected to the initiative makes her “complicit” to any violation of the law.
Then again, Politikal Pinoy can see why Robredo is not directly involved in the fundraising campaign. She’s too busy with her and her family’s foreign travels.
Such a circus.