Press Release
November 17, 2009

Senate panel proposes enactment of whistleblower law

Following the botched $329-million national broadband network - ZTE deal, the Senate blue ribbon committee has proposed the enactment of a law that would protect people who will expose anomalies or misconducts in public or private agencies.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate panel, filed a bill entitled "An Act Providing for Whistleblower Bill of Rights," which seeks to strengthen accountability and reduce corruption in the public and private sectors by protecting citizens who disclose wrongdoings from retaliatory acts.

"In the committee report, we have recommended the creation of a whistleblower law and the amendment of two other laws. Senate inquiries are conducted in aid of legislation, hence these recommendations," he said.

"Wala tayong batas ng whistle blower, meron tayong batas sa state witness. Ano ba ang whistle blower? A whistle blower is somebody who reports or exposes an offense na hindi kasama o hindi nagkaroon ng partisipasyon sa nasabing maling gawain. Maaaring inalok siyang sumama pero tinanggihan niya at ibinunyag pa ito," he added.

A whistleblower is defined as a person who raises concern about the wrongdoing, such as thefts, misuse or abuse of state property or time by state employees, gross misconduct, or incompetence, among others.

In the United States (US), the California Whistleblower Protection Act shields employees from reprisal, retaliation, threats, or coercion for reporting such information. The wording of the statute reflects a clear intent to cover only persons who have no participation in the wrongdoing subject of the disclosure.

"Based on this definition and law, Rodolfo Noel Lozada and Jose De Venecia III cannot be considered as whistleblowers because both of them were involved in the anomalous deal. I did not convict them, they were hanged by their own words," Gordon said.

The proposed measure also intends to encourage citizens to stand up and report alleged violations of law, improper use of governmental office, gross waste of funds, or any other abuse or gross neglect of duty on the part of an agency, public officer or employee, and private entity.

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