Thursday, August 20, 2009

SC: Edgar Teves can run

The enduring former mayor of Valencia Edgar Teves can now wear his running shoes after he was recently permitted to re-engage in politics by no less than the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court last April 28, 2009 declared Edgar Teves can run for public office in the 2010 elections….if it happens.
Edgar was convicted of violating Section 3(h), Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for possessing pecuniary or financial interest in a cockpit when he was mayor of Valencia, which is prohibited under the local government code.
Edgar Teves was sentenced to pay a fine of P10,000.00.
Former Rep. Herminio G. Teves, Edgar’s uncle, but political adversary, filed a petition to disqualify Edgar Teves in the 2007 elections.
The argument was that since Edgar Teves was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, he should be disqualified.
The Comelec disqualified Edgar Teves, and cancelled his certificate of candidacy for congressman.
Edgar appealed to the Supreme Court.
The issue raised in the Supreme Court is whether or not the conviction of Edgar Teves was of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Moral turpitude, according to the court, implies something immoral in itself, regardless as to whether or not it is punishable by law.
The act, to be one involving moral turpitude, must be immoral in itself.
The Supreme Court found that Edgar’s conviction did not involve moral turpitude.
The Supreme Court found that Edgar Teves , then Mayor of Valencia, did not use his influence, authority or power to gain such pecuniary or financial interest in the cockpit.
Neither did he intentionally hide his interest in the subject cockpit by transferring the management thereof to his wife, the court added.
The Supreme Court ruled that while possession of business and pecuniary interest in a licensed cockpit is prohibited, however, its illegality does not mean that violation thereof necessarily involves moral turpitude.
Neither does it makes such possession of interest inherently immoral, the court said.
Since the crime for which Edgar Teves was convicted did not involve any moral turpitude, the implication is that Edgar Teves is not disqualified to run for public office.
Let me simplify the rules.
If one is convicted of a crime, it does not mean automatic disqualification to run for public office.
It must first be determined whether the crime for which one was convicted, involved moral turpitude.
If not, then the convict cannot be disqualified.
If the crime involved moral torpitude, then the five year ban (to run for public office) applies.
Welcome back to politics, Edgar!

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