The oral arguments also started discussion on an argument raised by the camp of Binay, condonation by re-election, a policy upheld by the Supreme Court.
Citing Aguinaldo vs Santos, the camp of Mayor Binay argued that "a public official cannot be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officers' previous misconduct to the extent of cutting the right to remove him therefor."
It's a policy that Sereno categorically opposed during the oral arguments, saying it sends the wrong message to government officials.
Sereno said: "It is important that this court deliver the correct message to 430,000 officials, which brings me to the equal protection issue here. We're basically saying that these 430,000 officials can commit administrative offenses ranging from simple misconduct all the way to serious misconduct, and dishonesty. They just have to ensure that they get re-elected and any preventive suspension or any investigation or an administrative finding by the Ombudsman will have to stop. Is that the message that is going to be delivered if we continue with the condonation doctrine?"
Encouraged, acting Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay said it's time the High Court changes the ruling. "We have pending petitions before this honorable court urging the court to revisit the condonation policy of this honorable court. The studies are all there," Hilbay said.