In a press statement tonight, she admitted it was her on the wiretapped conversation.
What is the answer to the question in the title of your entry?
Following is her possible liability:
1. An Election Offense.
She maybe liable for violating Section 261 (f) of the Omnibus Election Code which states:
Section 261. Prohibited Acts.- The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
(f) Coercion of election officials and employees. – Any person who, directly or indirectly, threatens, intimidates, terrorizes or coerces any election official or employee in the performance of his election functions or duties.
2. A Graft and Corruption Case
Contrary to public perception, the term “graft and corruption” is not merely limited to looting and enriching one’s self from government coffers. That term covers many acts, as defined in Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the “Anti Graft and Corruption Act,” specifically Section 3 (a) that says:
(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
3. An Impeachable Offense
From a previous blog lecture, she may be liable for graft and corruption (as stated above) and betrayal of public trust, which involves any violation of her oath of office involving loss of public support even if it does not amount to a punishable offense (these are Hector De Leon’s words, cited in my post).
Incidentally, her oath of office says:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.” (Section 5, Article VII, 1987 Constitution)
Both of these are grounds for impeachment.
What are the penalties?
For an election offense, the prizes are:
1. A non-probationable prison sentence, from one year to six years;
2. Disqualification from public office; and
3. Deprivation of the right to vote.
For the graft and corruption offense, the prizes are:
1. Imprisonment for one to ten years;
2. Perpetual disqualification from public office;
3. Confiscation/forfeiture of the fruits of the “crime” (this may not be relevant for this issue)
For impeachment, as stated before:
1. Removal from office;
2. Disqualification for holding any other public office.
Anything else to add?
The election offense and the anti-graft offenses are mala prohibita, meaning, malice or bad intent need not be proved (unlike crimes in the Revised Penal Code that are mala in se, meaning, malice or bad intent needs to be proven before being liable).
Again, it’s one thing to say she may be liable. It’s another thing to see if she actually will be due to the numerous technicalities involved here…
But one thing’s for sure. This will not be the end of this…
Again, may God (or again, whatever Supreme Being you believe, or don’t believe) have mercy on us all…