Roxas: Re-election should not absolve officials of liability

BATAAN, Philippines – Should administrative cases against government officials be declared moot once they are re-elected?

It’s a legal argument still being debated upon before the Supreme Court in connection with the case of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, son of the Vice President, but as far as Interior Secretary and Liberal Party president-on-leave Manuel Roxas II is concerned, those who do the crime should do the time.

Palagay ko hintayin na lang natin ang Supreme Court…. Pero para sa akin, kung may kasalanan ka sa bansa, kung may anomalya kang ginawa ay dapat panagutin [ka],” Roxas told reporters on Thursday, May 7, on the sidelines of his visit to Dinalupihan town to inspect a potable water project.

(It would be best to wait for the Supreme Court, but, if you ask me, if you sinned against the country or if you committed anomalies, you have to face the consequences.)

Dubbed the “Aguinaldo doctrine,” it is the argument being used by the Binay family to counter the implementation of a preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Binay Jr, son of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The younger Binay and his father have a case pending before the Ombudsman over the construction of the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2. The Vice President was mayor of Makati when the construction of the building started, while his son took over after the elder Binay won the vice presidency in 2010.

The doctrine is based on a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, which reversed the dismissal from public service of former Cagayan Governor Rodolfo Aguinaldo because of his reeelection. The Binay camp argues that since the younger Binay was re-elected in 2013, any anomalies – proven or otherwise – would be considered moot.

There are political undertones in the suspension of Mayor Binay. (READ: Roxas on Binay challenge: 'High school thinking')

The Binay camp has accused Roxas of being behind the suspension and its controversial implementation, supposedly as a means to weaken Vice President Binay’s chances of winning the presidency in 2016. (READ: Junjun Binay to Roxas: Be fair, wait for CA decision)

Binay and Roxas are expected to go head-to-head in the 2016 presidential election.

Roxas earlier rejected Binay’s “invitation” for them to be running mates. Responding to questions from reporters, Roxas insisted he would never be allied with those tainted with corruption.

Binay is at the center of a months-long Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee probe into alleged instances of corruption during his decades-long reign as Makati mayor.

The Binays have dismissed the hearings as politically-motivated, allegedly a plot to ruin his chances in 2016. –