This refers to the article “A dangerous doctrine” (Opinion, 4/16/15) written by Randy David. Like him, I must confess, I am not a lawyer, but I use my common sense and reasoning ability. I understand the apprehension of David that the principle of condonation is a dangerous doctrine. I agree too with Solicitor General Florin Hilbay that the Supreme Court should revisit this doctrine which avers that the transgression of an elected official is cleared when he is reelected into public office. On such premise, let me share my modest views on this principle, but this time, from a philosophic slant.
One element in using this doctrine is knowledge. There should be full or reasonable knowledge of the misconduct of the elected official while in public office. This has twofold meaning: First, the errant public official must be fully aware of and must own up to his/her misconduct; second, the voters must also be aware of his/her wrongdoing, and in spite of this they reelected him/her.
The taking of responsibility of the misdemeanor is a prerequisite to granting condonation. It is highly absurd to grant condonation to an errant public official who does not take the blame at all. Condonation is for the guilty. I suggest that during the campaign period, the concerned candidate must confess and admit before the voting public his/her wrongdoing as a basis for the grant of condonation, meaning, their voting for him.
The other element of condonation is exculpation or forgiveness. However, it is hard to offer empirical proof that the electorate had already forgiven an errant public official after reelecting him/her. The number of votes does not conclusively show this. Unless the voters are given the opportunity on the ballot to clearly express whether or not they have “forgiven” or “not forgiven” him/her.
Finally, there should be a law that automatically removes the reelected errant public official from his/her post once his/her transgression is repeated during his next term and, as a penalty, he/she should be perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
—REGINALD B. TAMAYO, assistant city council secretary, Marikina City
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