KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: De Lima must answer immorality raps PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 June 2014 11:27

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

 

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you...” (James 1:21, the Holy Bible).

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MORALITY OF A GOV’T OFFICIAL IS A LEGAL ISSUE: This is not to agree and say that the accusations of immorality or of having illicit relationships with two married men against Justice Secretary Leila De Lima are true. As a lawyer, I know that these kinds of accusations must be proved in court first, if they are to be believed at all.

But then, I do not agree that De Lima need not answer them, nor “dignify them with explanations” at this point, because they pertain to “personal matters”. The fact is that, accusations involving the morality of anyone in government once raised publicly, must have to be answered, explained, and immediately refuted, because they involve an issue that is not only personal or moral, but also totally legal.

For it cannot be denied that there are laws and Supreme Court decisions in the country right now that direct anyone working in government not only to be morally upright at all times, to behave and conduct themselves according to law, good morals, good customs, and public policy, but also to avoid any appearance of impropriety affecting the integrity of public service.

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LAWS DWELLING ON MORALITY OF OFFICIALS: The first of these laws is found under Section 27, Art. II, Declaration of Principles and State Policies, which says: “The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption…”

Second, morality in government service is also required under Republic Act 6713, which is the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees”. Its Section 4 ( c ) says: “… Every public official and employee … shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest…”

Then, we also have Proclamation No. 62, Series of September 30, 1992, which is entitled “Declaring A Moral Recovery and Enjoining Active Participation of All Sectors in the Filipino Society”. This law says “… there is a need for moral renewal in order to eradicate the social ills that have plagued us for the past several decades…”

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DE LIMA MUST RESPOND TO ACCUSATIONS ON IMMORALITY: Executive Order 319, Series of April 03, 1996, on the other hand, directed “(A)ll government departments, offices, agencies, instrumentalities and government-owned and controlled corporations are enjoined to establish Integrity Circles or any similar mechanism to lay the necessary foundations of the moral recovery crusade for Filipinos…”

In the case of “Samson vs. Restrivera”, G.R. No. 178459, March 28, 2011, the Supreme Court gave a directive for all government officials and employees to “avoid any appearance of impropriety affecting integrity of public service.” Surely, the morality, or lack of it, by any government official is a matter that affects public service and should any question be raised about it, a forthright answer is demanded.

De Lima therefore owes not only to President Aquino, but also to God and to the Filipino people, to squarely respond to any challenge on her moral uprightness, not as an admission of any guilt, but because as a ranking official under a government that supposedly espouses “righteous governance”, she has a legal obligation to do so.

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REMINDERS: Please tune in: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac sa DZEC”, at 1062 kHz on the AM band, Mondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m., simulcast, real time, over www.eaglenews.ph;  “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas sa Radyo Trabungko FM”, at 103.7 mHz in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Mondays to Fridays, at 7 a.m.; and “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas sa DYKA” at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, at 10 a.m.