"Can Sen Grace Poe be held liable for conflict of interest?" - Prominent Lawyer on ABS-CBN Franchise Senate Hearing

Atty. Trixie Cruz Angeles | Senator Grace Poe | CTTO
Lawyer and radio host Trixie Cruz Angeles once again took to social media to share her remarkable opinion regarding the Senate hearing that happened last Monday, February 24, 2020, to look into the issues surrounding the franchise renewal of media giant ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

Obviously, Atty. Angeles was not impressed with the outcome of the hearing, especially to Sen. Grace Poe, who led the senate panel, despite Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's alleged previous statement that the Senate would violate the Constitution, should it hold a hearing on ABS-CBN franchise without waiting for the House of Representatives.

Senator Grace Poe | Photo credit to the owner
Due to this possible senate violation, Atty. Angeles on a Facebook post, then inquires as to whether Senator Grace Poe be held liable for conflict of interest for dominating the hearing and allegedly violating the law.

ABS-CBN executives on Senate hearing | Photo credit to the owner

Read her full post and inquiry below:

"Can Sen Grace Poe be held liable for conflict of interest under 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.

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"?

This line can be found in both the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act Sec 3 (h) 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.

Since the two laws execute the constitutional provision, it is necessary to sue the senator for these in order to make her liable.

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."

Source: Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan

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