“Can Sen Grace Poe be held liable for conflict of interest for calling a senate hearing on ABS-CBN franchise bill despite her family’s connection to the Kapamilya network?
This is the nagging question on social media since the Senator called for a senate hearing tackling the ABS-CBN franchise bill.
Susan Roces, her mother, is an ABS-CBN talent and their family own the rights to the popular Kapamilya telemovie “Ang Probinsyano” and receiving royalties from the network. But, is this enough to pin down the Senator?
Lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles takes on the challenge to answer the questions hanging on the heads of the public.
Angeles began by citing Art. VI Section 14 which states:
“No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly, be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.“
Angeles ponders if the prohibition applies to Senator Poe. “In relation to Sen. Poe, is the prohibition against having any financial interest in any franchise granted by the Government.”
What is “having any financial interest”? Angeles asked.
Angeles cited the line which can be found in both the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act Sec 3 (h) to answer the above question which states:
“Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.”
“In RA 6013 Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. – In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
(a) Financial and material interest. – Public officials and employees shall not, directly or indirectly, have any financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.”
In light of this, Angeles remarked that since the two laws execute the constitutional provision, it is necessary to sue the senator for these in order to make her liable.
Angeles, if I was not mistaken, said this important element must be established to get a conviction. “But what needs to be proven is her financial interest. For instance, if she is a stock holder of a corporation to be granted a franchise and she makes it possible to grant such a franchise, for example she votes in it’s favor.”