Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque slammed Senator Grace Poe for leading the senate investigation on ABS-CBN franchise renewal despite being aware of her conflict of interest with the broadcasting network.
In his latest Tribune.net column, Roque expressed “serious concern” over Poe’s action especially when she admitted her connections with ABS-CBN in an interview a few days ago.
Roque pointed out that the constitution already prohibited any public officials to intervene with any franchise granted by the government citing Article VI Section 12 and Section 7(a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Stands for Public Officials and Employees.
The lawyer called Poe’s action as “unconstitutional”.
In an interview with Karen Davila, Poe admitted her family’s business relationship with ABS-CBN but explained that she’s required to tackle it because she’s the chairman of the committee handling legislative franchises.
“Number 1, I am the chairman of the Committee on Public Services. No.2, it’s no secret the business relationship of my family with ABS-CBN. No. 3, I am only one of 24 senators. Whatever I say, even if I am for it or against it, if the majority will not side with my opinion, it will not prevail,” Poe said.
However, Roque argued that Poe had the chance to distance herself from getting involved in the ABS-CBN franchise issue, explaining that the Vice-chairman of the Committee on Public Service.
“The point is, had she followed the Constitution and the law, the hearing could still have been conducted as obviously, she is only one of twenty-four Senators. Even if she is chairman of the Committee on Public Services, the committee’s vice-chairman could have presided over the same. In other words, Sen. Poe’s participation in that hearing was not indispensable,” he said.
“Ultimately, the question goes beyond delicadeza as obviously, the senator probably does not care for such. The issue is why a senator, who knew about both her conflict of interest and should have known the prohibition against it, would wantonly violate the Constitution and the law and not have any remorse for it!” he added.
“By golly, legislators are supposed to legislate normative values important to mankind. But here now is a senator flaunting violations of no less than the Constitution and saying she did so that the nation will know her stand on the matter! Goodness, a press release or a privilege speech in this regard would have sufficed for that purpose,” he also said.
Roque is concerned that the actions of Poe “may encourage” other public officials to disregard the law in exchange for getting what they wanted or pushing their personal interest in some issues.
The lawyer believed that Poe insisted to lead the senate investigation on ABS-CBN because of her political ambitions.
“Grace Poe made a mockery of our Constitution and our laws to suit her political ambition of becoming President,” he said
“If and when she does become President, that’s the time for all Filipinos to migrate from this country. For clearly, she has just been proven to one and all that as a shameless law breaker, she could not possible be trusted to implement the laws of the land,” he added.