"I expected the lawmaker to opt for the most ethical solution to this case."
It seems Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo can no longer wait for the decision of the protest case lodged against her before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal she decided to just to dig herself out of the predicament she’s in. Unfortunately for her, instead of freeing herself, she could have buried herself much deeper.
In an article written by Ben Rosario of the Manila Bulletin, it is said that Quimbo was found to have filed a bill seeking to amend a provision of the Philippine Competition Act for which she is accused of violating.
In her proposed measure, House Bill 5906, Quimbo reportedly sought to scrap the provision of Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act that bars commissioners of the Philippine Competition Commission from running for any office in the election immediately following the official’s resignation or separation from the PCC.
However, that same provision was the basis of the protest filed against her by former ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene Michael De Vera. Quimbo, a former PCC commissioner, is facing a quo warranto petition seeking her removal as Lower House member for allegedly violating the said provision of RA 10667.
De Vera is questioning Quimbo’s qualification to run for a congressional seat in the 2019 elections because she allegedly violated RA 10667.
Quimbo, De Vera said, was a PCC commissioner who resigned her post in 2018 to file her candidacy the same year for the congressional seat that was to be vacated by her husband, former Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo.
De Vera, who also ran for the same seat, immediately filed before the Commission on Elections a disqualification case against Quimbo, pointing out that she had committed a glaring violation of RA 10667 that bars resigned commissioners from seeking any public office by running in the election, following such separation of PCC.
In fact, the electoral protest against Quimbo is one of the bases cited in the impeachment complaint filed by Ed Cordevilla against Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen, in his capacity as HRET chairman.
Leonen is accused of unjustifiably sitting on the case notwithstanding De Vera’s submission that it should already be resolved since the legal issue raised requires a mere interpretation of what RA 10667 provides and determination if Quimbo had violated it.
Quimbo’s apparent attempt to expunge the basis of the protest against her, however, did not escape the prying eyes of lawyer Larry Gadon, who assisted Cordevilla in the filing of the impeachment complaint against Leonen.
According to Gadon, Quimbo may have committed a serious violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for filing her proposed bill which will directly benefit her.
Gadon said that by merely filing a bill that will benefit her interest, Quimbo may have already violated the anti-graft law.
“Aside from conflict of interest, it is also unethical for the congresswoman to push for the scrapping of a law that she had been accused of violating,” Gadon noted.
So, where’s the delicadeza? I was expecting Quimbo, the wife of former Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, to opt for the most ethical resolution to her case, not through some short cuts which would obliterate the basis of the protest against her. After all, her husband is viewed to be a principled man, being a former youth leader, rising from the ranks of the Kabataan para sa Demokrasya at Nasyonalismo or Kadena, before being appointed to the National Youth Commission, and eventually landing in the halls of Congress.
But apparently, delicadeza seems to have been lost in the filing of this bill. Or maybe even before the filing of this bill.
No one needs to remind Mr. Quimbo that his wife is in the midst of an electoral protest and that he may be suspected or even be accused of unduly influencing the Speaker regarding his wife’s case.
In the interest of fairness, I sent Congresswoman Stella a text message last Saturday seeking a reaction on the issue. As of this writing, she still has to respond. Anyway, if the Quimbos want to air their side on this issue, by all means, I will give them the space in my subsequent articles.