• SC to petitioner: Why oust Binay as head Scout?

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    The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered a petitioner to explain his move to stop Vice President Jejomar Binay from continuing to occupy his post as head of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP).

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    The order was contained in an SC en banc resolution, dated March 1, 2016, signed and promulgated by lawyer Felipa Anama, Clerk of Court,

    The High Court mandated petitioner Jesus Nicardo Falcis 3rd to file his reply to the comment made by Binay, who argued that there is no conflict of interest in the holding of his position as BSP head and as Vice President of the Philippines.

    Besides, the Vice President said, the BSP a non-profit institution while being a Vice President is a government position.

    Falcis was given five days to file his reply.

    In a 15-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, he also asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order “pending determination of the merits of this case.”

    Falcis said Binay is prohibited by the Constitution to hold dual or multiple positions.

    Also named respondent is the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

    Binay was elected as the group’s president in 1994 and served until 1996.

    He was reelected in 1999 and has served since then.

    Binay was again reelected last June 20.

    He is the presidential candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance, one of the biggest opposition parties in the country today, in the May 2016 elections.

    “The prohibition against the holding of dual or multiple offices has been characterized by this [court]as a stricter prohibition on the highest officials of the land. The circumvention of such affects the operation of the government and all Filipinos,” Falcis said.

    According to him, Binay violated Article VII, Section 13 of the Constitution, which provides, “The President, Vice President, the members of the Cabinet and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate in any business or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.”

    The Vice President, as head Boy Scout, is also being accused of an anomalous land deal between the group and Alphaland.

    Falcis said Binay as the group’s president is not a Cabinet position, hence the post does not fall under any of the exceptions to the prohibition.

    He added that the High Court can decide on the case using its power of judicial review and its decision can further guide the lower courts.

    JOMAR CANLAS

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