KOJC Legal Counsel: Sec. Abalos’ acceptance of donation for Pastor ACQ bounty is illegal

KOJC Legal Counsel: Sec. Abalos’ acceptance of donation for Pastor ACQ bounty is illegal

INTERIOR Secretary Benhur Abalos lacks proper research.

This is according to KOJC Legal Counsel Atty. Israelito Torreon following Abalos’ acceptance of a donation from private individuals as reward money for the capture of Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy.

Torreon explained that the DILG secretary’s action violated Section 7 Paragraph D of Republic Act 6713, which prohibits government officials from soliciting or accepting any gift, payment, reward, or benefit from any person.

‘’Perhaps Sec. Abalos just lacked proper research. If we read Sec. 7-D of Republic Act 6713— it clearly applies because whatever your intention may be, whether motivated by good faith or whatever, you cannot accept private donations to make another person’s life miserable, even if it is supposedly for a legal purpose,’’ according to Atty. Israelito Torreon KOJC Legal Counsel.

‘’Perhaps he just hasn’t read about it. Maybe now he needs to read it,’’ he added.

Torreon argued that Abalos’ offering of a ten million peso reward money against Pastor Apollo is illegal because, according to the general rule for offering reward money, it requires the individual to be designated as “most wanted.”

Based on the DILG’s Memorandum Circular, some criteria determining someone as “most wanted,” including committing heinous and sensational crimes, engaging in repeated offenses, and affiliating with a crime organization or syndicate posing a threat to security and peace in a particular area.

According to Torreon, Pastor Apollo clearly does not meet the criteria.

 ‘’So any of the parameters that are mentioned under Memorandum Circular No. 22-028 are not present. Ergo ‘yung P10-M niya illegal under Republic Act 6713 Sec. 7 Paragraph D and it has no basis under the law even in their own memorandum circular. So perhaps a little more research is needed for accuracy,’’ Atty. Israelito Torreon said.

For former Palace spokesman Atty. Harry Roque, it’s inappropriate to use private funds to offer reward money for wanted individuals because, first and foremost, it is the responsibility of the government.

According to Roque, Abalos’ acceptance of a donation from a private individual can be considered ‘graft.’

‘’In my opinion, it’s common sense. Even without Atty. Torreon’s mention of a special law, nobody gives without a motive. There is always a motive. They’re currying favor with the government. So why allow it? You know they’ll be asking for a favor in the future. So, to me, accepting money for a bounty is graft because it’s not free. They do it for a substantial amount because they want to have the government’s favor through the person accepting the donation,’’ Atty. Harry Roque said.

Atty. Adam Jambangan questioned the amount of the reward money against Pastor Apollo compared to individuals facing more severe cases.

He argued that the amount is disproportionate to the accusations against the esteemed Pastor, which have not yet been proven.

‘’How would you differentiate Pastor Quiboloy’s case, where such a large bounty is offered, when there are many accused with more severe cases and lesser bounties? Some even have no bounties. There is a clear violation of the equal protection clause,’’ Atty. Adam Jambangan KOJC Legal Counsel.

For KOJC Executive Secretary Eleanor Cardona, bounties should be placed on the heads of criminals such as government thieves, smugglers, and drug lords.

‘’Those who should be apprehended, pursued, and have bounties placed on their heads are the ones you should go after. Government thieves, smugglers, drug addicts, and drug lords are the ones who are the sinners, not the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. You are wrong. What you are saying does not apply here. Secretary Abalos. I’ll return your words: The law is the law, and you should be the first to follow it,’’ Eleanor Cardona Executive Secretary, KOJC said.

The KOJC legal counsel emphasized that since this is a public concern, Abalos should publicly name the friends who donated the bounty against Pastor Apollo.

Roque agreed with this.

‘’We are challenging and demanding Secretary Abalos to name these people behind the initiative kumbaga. Reveal the donor because this is practically donation. So if it’s like that, you have to reveal it because this is a matter of public concern and we have the right to know,’’ according to Atty. Adam Jambangan.

‘’We have the right to information that affects our daily lives. The DILG holds a very sensitive position because our police force is under the DILG. So who is this person supporting the DILG by donating P10 million?’’ Atty. Harry Roque said.

‘’You should come forward and identify yourself. And let’s see what your interest is in supporting the government, especially the DILG,’’ Roque added.

Government officials who violate Republic Act 6713 can be suspended or dismissed from service.

In addition to administrative sanctions, anyone violating this law can be imprisoned for not less than one year but not more than five years or fined not less than P5,000 but not more than P100,000.

They can also be sentenced to perpetual disqualification from public office and will not be able to return to any public position. According to the law, those who give donations to government officials face the same penalties.

For former National Intelligence Officer of the CPP-NPA-NDF, Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric Celiz,’ Abalos should resign for clearly violating the law.

‘’No need to sue you when the evidence is all very clear. Pack your bags. Don’t wait for Marcos Jr. to kick you out as DILG secretary. The law is very clear. You’re a lawyer. Be ashamed. You could be disbarred for this. This is gross ignorance of the law, and you should not have been given a license as a lawyer if you don’t know this. So pack your bags,’’ according to Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric’ Celiz dating National Intelligence Officer, CPP-NPA-NDF.

Asked about the timing of Abalos’ announcement of the reward money against Pastor Apollo, this was their response:

‘’They are chasing a timeline before the July 22 SONA. Because it’s difficult, I’m speaking as a student of political science, it’s difficult to report to the nation if you have nothing to report. How can you make yourself look good, because politics is about making yourself look good? It’s about public impression. How can you make yourself look good if you have no trophy to show? And for them, the trophy they see is Pastor Quiboloy,’’ Jay Sonza Political Commentator said.

‘’I can’t help but feel that maybe they are doing this so we can have a movie to watch every day. Because Pastor has SMNI. We will definitely complain. So attention will be drawn here, and the rising debt, and the rampant corruption will be forgotten, so those will no longer be discussed. That’s just my observation,’’ Atty. Israelito Torreon said.

‘’Displacement theory to confuse the public, to confuse the citizens, and not focus on the responsibility of the Marcos Jr. government’s severe lack of leadership,’’ Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric’ Celiz’ added.


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