Press Release
August 9, 2010

No more fixers, middle-men in gov't

The mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government is punishable by law under the proposed bill of Senator Chiz Escudero.

Senate Bill No. 102 (An Act Penalizing Influence Peddling) seeks to nip corruption at the bud and prior to any damage inflicted upon the government's coffers.

Escudero said that presently, no law categorically penalizes a public official's mere act of influencing another public official to perform an act that does not constitute a crime.

"Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) only penalizes persons who received a present, gift or any material or pecuniary advantage as well as those who, without official authority actually intervene, directly or indirectly in any transactions with the government. There is a gap that needs to be filled in this law".

The senator said proof of consideration in influence peddling is difficult to prove. He cited the case of Boviera v. Zoleta, where the Supreme Court in 2006 qualified that the mere act of influencing a public official to perform an act which is not a violation of duly promulgated regulations is not punishable under Section 3 (a) of RA 3019, if there is no consideration for the said use of influence.

"It is difficult to prove and confirm if money or any tangible gifts indeed exchanged hands in sealing a particularly corrupted deal. We want to clip corruption at its inception even before any gift or present is given and even before there has actually been an intervention in connection with such request".

SBN 102 punishes any person who engages in influence peddling as defined by this act an imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand, or both, and disqualification to hold public office.

"This should set up an effective deterrent to corruption; it will put in place a mandated mechanism that will transcend all department circulars that merely advises its employees not to accept gifts or dine-outs, as in the case of BIR".

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