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‘Republic of the Philippines’ not the same as ‘people of the Philippines’

By Zaldy Lenon

Balita Media News Service – Manila Bureau

Cadiz and other OSG lawyers said the Republic of the Philippines is not synonymous with the People of the Philippines and it is the OSG and not the OSP or the Ombudsman which represents the Republic of the Philippines.

The OSG said the plunder complaint filed against Garcia, his wife, and his children in 2005 actually says so by alleging that the accused unjustly enriched himself “at the expense and to the damage of the Filipino People and the Republic of the Philippines.”

“The uniform claim of accused Garcia and the OSP that the Republic of the Philippines is synonymous with ‘People,’ who is already represented by the OSP, is devoid of merit,” Cadiz argued.

“To be sure, there are a number of differences between the ‘Republic of the Philippines’ and ‘People of the Philippines.’ The phrase ‘People of the Philippines’ is a term coined in procedural law to be made the plaintiff in a criminal case. It is supposed to stand for the Filipino people who, in criminal cases, is considered as the persons collectively outraged. On the other hand, the phrase ‘Republic of the Philippines’ represents the totality of the State which includes both people and government,” he said.

“Such being the case, ‘People of the Philippines’ and the ‘Republic of the Philippines’ have distinct, overlapping and at times, different and contradicting interests. In criminal cases, the interest of the ‘People of the Philippines’ is to prosecute the accused for having violated the peace and tranquility of its community, and if found guilty, to be punished for it. On the other hand, the interest of the ‘Republic of the Philippines’ is broader and embodied in the government policies it espouses,” he explained.

Cadiz said the Republic of the Philippines, as a separate offended party, may have its own reasons for not wanting to enter into a plea-bargain agreement like its international and local commitment to fight corruption in government and recover illegally-amassed wealth, a wrong impression on the people that crime pays and the perception that plea bargain in a plunder case with an accused trivializes the crime.

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