Review of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019: Anti-Graft And Corrupt Practices Act

The two Republic Acts (on Plunder as well as this one) that in the Philippines, immunity as being bandied by Senators and members of Congress named in the COA report does not apply when the case is plunder, graft and corruption. This is why, again, as mentioned in earlier articles here, it is unacceptable to me as a citizen that the Senate is investigating itself (which all the more adds to the crime they are accused of) and worse, no one from the Executive or the Judiciary stopped the process. The law has named the Sandiganbayan as the independent body having jurisdiction over these cases. Also, it is unacceptable to many in the country, at least those who are following through the case, to see these named public officials still sitting in the hallowed halls of the Senate when the law is clear that they are to be suspended. Otherwise, we can all go to hell, literally, not just at its gates: lawlessness, failure of government to be representative, chaos.

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Section 1. Statement of policy.

— It is the policy of the Philippine Government, in line with the principle that a public office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of
public officers and private persons alike which constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.

Section 2. Definition of terms. — As used in this Act, the term —

(b) “Public officer” includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exempt service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government as defined in the preceding subparagraph.

Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.

— In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.
(c) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without prejudice to Section thirteen of this Act.
(d) Accepting or having any member of his family accept employment in a private enterprise which has pending official business with him during the pendency thereof or within one year after its termination.
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

(f) Neglecting or refusing, after due demand or request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.

(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.
(h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.
(i) Directly or indirectly becoming interested, for personal gain, or having a material interest in any transaction or act requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate in the action of the board, committee, panel or group.  Interest for personal gain shall be presumed against those public officers responsible for the approval of manifestly unlawful, inequitable, or irregular transaction or acts by the board, panel or group to which they belong.
(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled.
(k) Divulging valuable information of a confidential character, acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position to unauthorized persons, or releasing such information in advance of its authorized release date.

The person giving the gift, present, share, percentage or benefit referred to in subparagraphs (b) and (c); or offering or giving to the public officer the employment mentioned in subparagraph (d); or urging the divulging or untimely release of the confidential information referred to in subparagraph (k) of this section shall, together with the offending public officer, be punished under Section nine of this Act and shall be permanently or temporarily disqualified in the discretion of the Court, from transacting business in any form with the Government.

Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals.

— (a) It shall be unlawful for any person having family or close personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which such public official has to intervene.  Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by consanguinity or affinity in the third civil  degree. The word “close personal relation” shall include close personal friendship, social and fraternal connections, and professional employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such public officer.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to commit any of the offenses defined in Section 3 hereof.

Section 8. Prima facie evidence of and dismissal due to unexplained wealth.
— If in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act Numbered One thousand three hundred seventy-nine, a public official has been found to have acquired during his incumbency, whether in his name or in the name of other persons, an amount of property and/or money manifestly out of proportion to his salary and to his other lawful income, that fact shall be a ground for dismissal or removal. Properties in the name of the spouse and dependents of such public official may be taken into consideration, when their acquisition through legitimate means cannot be satisfactorily shown. Bank deposits in the name of or manifestly excessive expenditures incurred by the public official, his spouse or any of their dependents including but not limited to activities in any club or association or any ostentatious display of wealth including frequent travel abroad of a non-official character by any public official when such activities entail expenses
evidently out of proportion to legitimate income, shall likewise be taken into consideration in the enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary. The circumstances herein above mentioned shall constitute valid ground for the administrative suspension of the public official concerned for an indefinite period until the investigation wealth is completed. (As amended by BP Blg., 195, March 16,
1982).

Section 9. Penalties for violations.

— (a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than six years and one month nor more than fifteen years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income. Any complaining party at whose complaint the criminal prosecution was
initiated shall, in case of conviction of the accused, be entitled to recover in the criminal action with priority over the forfeiture in favor of the Government, the amount of money or the thing he may have given to the accused, or the fair value of such thing.
(b) Any public officer violating any of the provisions of Section 7 of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand pesos nor more than five thousand pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year and six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court.

The violation of said section proven in a proper administrative proceeding shall be sufficient cause for removal or dismissal of a public officer, even if no criminal prosecution is instituted against him. (Amended by BP Blg. 195, March 16, 1982).

Section 10. Competent court.

— Until otherwise provided by law, all prosecutions under this Act shall be within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. (As amended by BP Blg. 195, March 16, 1982)

Section 11. Prescription of offenses. — All offenses punishable under this Act shall prescribe in fifteen years.

Section 12. Termination of office.

— No public officer shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, criminal or administrative, or pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under this Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery.

Section 13. Suspension and loss of benefits.

— Any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title Seven Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is pending in court shall be suspended from office. Should he be convinced by final judgement, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law, but if he is acquitted, he shall be entitled
to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.

In the event that such convicted officer, who may have been separated from the service has already received such benefits he shall be liable to restitute the same to the government. (As amended by BP Blg. 195, March 16, 1982).

Read the complete text at lawphil,net

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