Press Release
March 22, 2010


ALBAY - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Congress should pass a law that will provide full protection to whistleblowers or those who expose anomalies allegedly being perpetuated by influential government officials or, at the very least, their involvement in such anomalous transactions.

Mr. Enrile said there is a need to review the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice following the killing of juetengwhistleblower Wilfredo "Boy" Mayor last month.

In 2005, Mayor testified before Senate hearings that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and some government officials received monthly payola (payoff) from jueteng, an illegal numbers game.

The WPP was established under Republic Act No. 6981, "The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act," which seeks to protect a person who as witnessed or knowledge of the commission of a crime.

Mr. Enrile said he has received reports that some whistleblowers under WPP abuse their security details. "Dinadala sa mga pasyalan at pinagbibitbit ng maleta. Hindi naman tama yun."

Mr. Enrile said his office is in the process of validating reports that WPP funds are being used for other purposes other than protecting witnesses, noting that WPP has enough budget but its disposal is subject to several procedures, including seeking the approval from the Department of Justice.

"Kailangang magtestigo talaga sila sa korte bago magamit ang pondo," he told radio Bombo Albay's Hanay Big Time during a campaign sortie here.

Mr. Enrile, a senatorial bet of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, said security for whistleblowers should continue as long as there is a threat.

"Kapat natapos na ang hearing at may threat pa ay kailangang proteksyunan. Nung tinanggal namin ang security dun sa iba ay dahil wala na namang threat sa kanila," he said.

Meantime, whistleblowers have banded themselves together and formed Whistleblowers Association. Some of the group's famous members are Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada who exposed the ZTE anomaly, Boy Barredo of the fertilizer funds scam and Vidal Doble of the "Hello Garci" investigation.

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