An expanded anti-graft law that would penalize the corrupt in the private sector has been proposed in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Sherwin Tugna and Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales, both from Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list, made the pitch under their House Bill (HB) 5298, which seeks punishment of any person who, without reasonable excuse, offers any advantage to any agent as an inducement to or reward for; or who, with intent to deceive his principal uses any receipt, account or other documents.
Also under HB 5298, if an agent accepts an advantage, neither he nor the person who offered the advantage will be guilty of an offense if the act is done with the permission of his principal, the advantage is unsolicited and the advantage is of small or insignificant value and given as mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship; and if the act is done with permission of an agent’s principal, the permission will be given before the advantage is offered or accepted or if accepted without prior permission, be applied for and given as soon as reasonably possible after such offer or acceptance.
A public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omissions enumerated will be punished with imprisonment of six to 15 years, face a fine of P500,000 to P1 million, pay damages to persons prejudiced by the acts committed, perpetually disqualified from holding public office and stripped of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income in favor of the government.
“People use money, position or any advantage as an inducement or reward in order to get what they want. These activities are considered graft and corruption. This bill sends a message that graft and corruption is prohibited in any sector of society,” Tugna, also the deputy majority leader, pointed out.
Another salient point in the bill is the provision that mandates all heads of government offices, agencies and departments, as well as corporations and businesses or their applicable departments or offices, to make available reports of advantages received and permitted under the proposed law.
The reports will then be made available for inspection, copying and reproduction by the Office of the Ombudsman during regular working hours on regular business days.