Press Release
January 31, 2007


Saying red tape has proven to be one of the main roadblocks in economic progress, Sen. Panfilo Lacson wrapped up Wednesday public hearings on a bill that will shorten procedures and lessen chances for corruption in transactions with government agencies.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization, said such a measure may seem simple at first sight, but will have a major positive impact on public service.

The public are not our masters but definitely we are their servants, he said during a public hearing held Wednesday to discuss the measure.

With the conclusion of the hearings and with the Lower House having passed its version of the bill, Lacson said a committee report is due soon, and that he will immediately sponsor the said report before the 13th Congress adjourns.

Under the proposed measure to combat red tape, government agencies will have up to five days to respond to simple transactions such as getting drivers licenses, and 10 days for complex transactions that involve added research or processing by more than one agency.

The proposed measure also aims to limit the number of signatories in a transaction to five, particularly for processing various permits. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) had noted that in some cases involving the Office of the President, transactions take up to six signatures before reaching Malacañang .

On the other hand, the proposed measure penalizes the head of an agency who fails to act on a transaction within the five- or 10-day period, although transactions not acted upon within the five- or 10-day time frame are deemed approved. Heads of agencies who need more time should file a certification with the Ombudsman that it is physically impossible to meet the deadline.

Heads of agencies who fail to act on a transaction face an administrative case of gross neglect of duty, which may mean dismissal from the service.

If the head of the agency fails to act, its his own lookout, Lacson said, adding that if the power of discretion of some officials can be limited, well be attacking the problem of corruption.

Light offenses such as refusal to accept or act on applications or requests, attend to clients or render services, or imposing additional irrelevant requirements will merit a 30-day suspension on the first offense; a three-month suspension on the second; and dismissal and disqualification from public service on the third.

Grave offenses such as fixing or colluding with fixers will merit dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service. Fixers face a maximum of six years imprisonment or a fine of P200,000.

News Latest News Feed