Bar Q and A #6

The claim of Bluebean that Greenpeas is not entitled to a seal under the party-list-system because it obtained only 1.99 percent of the votes cast under the party-list-system is not correct. The provision in Section5(2) Article VI of the Constitution provides that the party-list representatives shall constitute twenty percent (20%) of the total number of the members of the house of Representatives is mandatory, after the parties receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes case for the party-list system have been allocated one seat, the remaining seats should be allocated among the parties by the proportional percentage of the votes received by each party as against the total party-list votes. (Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency v. COMELEC, 586 SCRA 211, 2009)

The claim of Bluebean that Greenpeas is  not entitled to participate in the party-list elections because it does not represent any marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society is not correct. It is enough that its principal advocacy pertains to the special interest of its sector. (Atong Panglaum, Inc. v. COMELEC, 694 SCRA 477, 2013)

YES. As for political parties, they may participate in the party-list race by registering under the party-list system and no longer field congressional candidates. These parties, if they field congressional candidates, however, are not barred from participating in the party-list elections; what they need to do is register their sectoral wing or party under the party-list system.

This sectoral wing shall be considered an “independent sectoral party” linked to a political party through a coalition. (Atong Paglaum vs COMELEC, April 2, 2013)

Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution, which prohibits Members of Congress from holding another office during their term without forfeiting their seat, does not distinguish between government corporations with original charters and their subsidiaries, because the prohibition applies to both.

NO, Victor Ahmad is not qualified to run for Congress in the 1995 elections. Under Section 6, Article VI of the Constitution, a member of the House of Representatives must be at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election. Since he will be less than twenty-five (25) years of age in 1995, Victor Ahmad is not qualified to run.

Under Section 2, Article IV of the Constitution, to be deemed a natural-born citizen, Victor Ahmad must elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. I shall advise him to elect Philippine citizenship if he has not yet done so, and to wait until the 1998 elections. My answer will be the same if he consulted me in 1991 and informed me of his desire to run in the 1992 elections.

I shall advise JAR to run for Senator. As Senator, he can retain his investments in his business, although he must make a full disclosure of his business and financial interests and notify the Senate of a potential conflict of interest if he authors a bill. (Section 12, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.) He can continue practicing law, but he cannot personally appear as counsel before any court of justice, the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi- judicial and other administrative bodies. (Sec. 14, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution)

As a member of the Cabinet, JAR cannot directly or indirectly practice law or participate in any business. He will have to divest himself of his investments in his business (Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution). In fact, the Constitutional prohibition imposed on members of the Cabinet covers both public and  private office or employment. (Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, 194 SCRA 317, 199I)

The law is constitutional. Sec. 12, Article VI of the Constitution does not prohibit the enactment of a law which will benefit the business interests of a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives. It only requires that if the member of Congress whose business interests will be benefited by the law is the one who will file the bill, he should notify the House concerned of the potential conflict of interest.

Being a congressman, Atty. Abling is disqualified under Article VI, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution from personally appearing as counsel before quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies handling labor cases constitutes personal appearance before them (Puyat v. De Guzman, G.R. No. L-5122, 1982, 1135 SCRA 33). His involvement in collective bargaining, negotiations also involves practice of law, because he is making use of his legal knowledge for the benefit of others (Cayetano v. Monsod, G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991, 201 SCRA 210). The Bureau of Labor Relations is involved in collective bargaining negotiations. (Article 250 of Labor Code)

Atty. Abling should not be disbarred but should be merely suspended from the practice of law. Suspension is the appropriate penalty for involvement in the unlawful practice of law (Tapay v. Bancolo, A.C. No. 9604, March 20, 2013, 694 SCRA 1)

The contention of Representative Valera is not correct As held in Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, 356 SCRA 636, the suspension contemplated in Article VI, Section 16(3) of the Constitution is a punishment that is imposed by the Senate or House of Representatives upon an erring member, it is distinct from the suspension under Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which is not a penalty but a preventive measure. Since Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act does not state that the public officer must be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts which he has been charged, it applies to any office which he may be holding.