Monday, December 21, 2009

Can Miriam be incapacitated from running for office?

Someone wants Miriam Defensor-Santiago out from the senatorial race because of her "unsound mind".

I was watching the evening news and found out that a certain Atty. Pangcoga has filed a petition with the COMELEC alleging that Miriam has a mental disorder and should be disqualified from running.

He voiced his concern over her recent proclamations in Senate (God, where do I start?), stating that these are "unparliamentary" behavior and that she only uses her position to defame and slander people. He basically said that she is insane, because she has such symptoms: “delusion of grandeur," “flight of ideas," “mood swings," “penchant for lying," and “paranoia."

I'm not really complaining because watching Miriam is entertaining.

But of course we have to focus on the legal aspect of this. Hence the question, can one be mentally incapacitated from running for office?

The 1987 Constitution only has the following requirements for one to be eligible as a Senator:

No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election. (Art.VI, Sec.3)

Let's look at that requirement of being a registered voter. The COMELEC only requires that one has to be:

a) 18 years old and above

b) Has resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein he proposes to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election; and

c) Is not otherwise disqualified by law, such as any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment of not less than one year; any person adjudged by final judgment of having committed crimes such as rebellion, sedition, violation of the firearms laws and against national security; insane or incompetent person as declared by competent authority.

Let's look at those requirements again. Notice the 3rd one which says, "IS NOT OTHERWISE DISQUALIFIED BY LAW" and then it proceeds to enumerate instances when one is considered disqualified. Among these is "insane or incompetent person as declared by a competent authority". A competent authority in law is defined as one who is an expert or an authority on a subject matter. 

According to Atty. Pangcoga's counsel, Miriam's attending physician was a psychiatrist at a psychiatric hospital where she was treated. 

Are dramatic words strung together (I LIEEED!!!) plus seeing a psychiatrist until now enough to prove that one is insane and disqualified from running for government? I guess we'll see in the upcoming months what the COMELEC will finally decide.


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