What's the difference between accusation, guilt?

The general rule is clearly provided for by the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel. An accusation, according to the fundamental law, is not synonymous with guilt.

If a candidate is disqualified from running for public office on the ground alone that charges have been filed against him before a civil or military tribunal, this being by virtue of a law, said law must be struck down as unconstitutional for it directly goes against the constitutional presumption of innocence. We must remember that it is very easy to initiate a case against anyone. If this alone were to be enough basis to disqualify a candidate, then our people would be faced by a situation where no one can run for public office anymore.The kind of law stated above is one which condemns before it hears. In ultimate effect, except as to the degree of proof, no distinction is made between a person convicted of acts of disloyalty and one against whom charges have been filed for such acts, as both of them would be ineligible to run for public office. A person disqualified to run for public office on the ground that charges have been filed against him is virtually placed in the same category as a person already convicted of a crime with the penalty of arresto, which carries with it the accessory penalty of suspension of the right to hold office during the term of the sentence (Art. 44, Revised Penal Code).

And although the filing of charges is considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, may be rebutted, yet, there is "clear and present danger" that because of the proximity of the elections, time constraints will prevent one charged with acts of disloyalty from offering contrary proof to overcome the prima facie evidence against him. Additionally, it is best that evidence pro and con of acts of disloyalty be aired before the Courts rather than before an administrative body such as the COMELEC. A highly possible conflict of findings between two government bodies, to the extreme detriment of a person charged, will thereby be avoided. Furthermore, a legislative/administrative determination of guilt should not be allowed to be substituted for a judicial determination. (Read more about this: G.R. No. L-52245; January 22, 1980)

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