It is no longer a secret that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rigged the elections when she ran for president in 2004. As the sitting president then, she used the vast powers and resources of government to win the election, and she was able to sit as president for another six years, enjoying the powers, perks and privileges of the office. The question is: (1) What was the legal status of Arroyo’s stay in Malacañang? (2) What were and/or are supposed to be the legal consequences of her acts as “president,” including the appointments she made, that is, if the courts find her indeed guilty of election sabotage?
I offer this humble opinion: Arroyo was a squatter in Malacañang from June 2004 to May 2010. She was a pretender, an impostor; a fake, bogus and counterfeit president. As such, any and all acts she performed as president had no legal force and effect because they were are all null and void ab initio. For her official acts to be enforceable, she must be a de jure president. And she could not be deemed a de facto president because an office obtained by deceit and fraud can never be conferred even a de facto status. A de facto official must have some legal basis no matter how flimsy it is.
Furthermore, her official actions cannot be privileged with the presumption of “regularity of performance of duty” because such presumption is premised on the fact that the government official has been duly elected or legally appointed or designated as such.
Therefore, all the acts of Arroyo, as well as those appointed by her while she was a “bogus” president are null and void based on the principle that “nothing comes from nothing.” One cannot draw water from a dry well. A bogus official cannot confer a valid and legal appointment.
Therefore, the government should demand that she give back all the money she collected as salary or benefits during her term as a bogus president. Her appointed officials should be dealt with similarly. They cannot invoke the principle of quantum meruit (what one has earned) because as bogus public and government officials, they do not have any right to collect even a penny for services rendered.
The next question is: What would be the implication of all this on the impeachment case against the Chief Justice? It’s as moot and academic as beating a dead horse.
—MANUEL BIASON, Esq.,