Press Release
July 31, 2013


Representing oneself to another person having a transaction or business with the government is punishable by law once Senator Chiz Escudero's proposed bill passes into law.

Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance filed Senate Bill No. 118 (SBN 118) which shall also be known as the "Anti-Influence Peddling Act" which makes it unlawful for any person to engage in influence peddling.

SBN 118 defines influence peddling as the act of representing oneself, either orally or in writing, as being able, whether real or imagined, to influence, facilitate or assist another person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government in which a public official or employee has to intervene.

The bill, which was also pushed by the senator during his first term in the senate, seeks to nip corruption even before its inception and prior to any damage inflicted upon the government coffers.

"So much misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance had been committed already with the practice of using one's real or imagined influence in the bureaucracy, but it is very difficult to prove and confirm if money or gifts indeed exchanged hands in sealing a corrupted deal. At present, no law categorically penalizes a person's mere act of influencing a public official to perform an act that does not constitute a crime. We want to fill this gap with this bill."

Escudero said the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act only penalizes persons who received a present, materials or any pecuniary advantage as well as those who, without official authority actually intervene, directly or indirectly in any transactions with the government.

SBN 118 punishes any person who engages in influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another, of not more than six years or a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand pesos or both, and disqualification to hold public office.

"This should set up an effective deterrent to corruption. I have always espoused transparency in government. This bill puts a mandated mechanism that will transcend all department circulars that merely advises its employees not to accept gifts or dine-outs, especially those from revenue-generating agencies. If the transaction is legitimate, no need to inflict damage upon oneself and another party by circumventing the legal and correct procedures."

On Monday, Escudero filed a resolution calling for a senate probe on the alleged "padrino system'' at the Customs Bureau which implicates members of Congress and other influential groups and persons.

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