What is Corruption? Part III

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MEASURES EMPLOYED TO CONTROL GRAFT AND CORRUPTION

The government employs legal measures and anti-corruption bodies to combat the problem of graft and corruption.

  1. LEGAL MEASURES
    1. The 1987 Philippine Constitution

Article XI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, titled “Accountability of Public Officersâ€, states in Section 1 that “public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.â€

Section II of the same article states that the President, Vice-President, members of the Constitutional Commissions and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for bribery and graft and corruption.

  1. Republic Act No. 3019 also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act of 1960

This law enumerates all corrupt practices of any public officer, declares them unlawful and provides the corresponding penalties of imprisonment (between 6-15 years) perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture of unexplained wealth in favor of the government.

  1. Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987

This order reiterates the provisions embodies in Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. It also gives the President the power to institute proceedings to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials and employees.

  1. Republic Act No. 6713 also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees of 1989

This act promotes a high standard of ethics and requires all government personnel to make an accurate statement of assets and liabilities, disclose net worth and financial connections. It also requires new public officials to divest ownership in any private enterprise within 30 days from assumption of office to avoid conflict of interest.

  1. Republic Act No. 6770 also known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989

This provides the functional and structural organization of the Office of the Ombudsman which will be discussed later on.

  1. Republic Act No. 7055 also known as An Act Strengthening Civilian Supremacy over the Military

This law creates two avenues for trying erring members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other members subject to military laws. Crimes penalized by the Revised Penal Code and other special penal laws and local government ordinances shall be tried in civil courts. Military courts shall take cognizance of service-oriented crimes only.

  1. Republic Act No. 7080 also known as the Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder

This act penalizes any public officer who by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth, through a combination of series of event criminal acts, an aggregate amount to total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000).

  1. Republic Act No. 8249 also known as the Act Further Defining the Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan

This classifies the Sandiganbayan as a special court and places it at par with the Court of Appeals.

  1. Presidential Decree No. 46 declares it unlawful for government personnel to receive gifts and for private persons to give gifts on any occasion including Christmas, regardless of whether the gift is for past or future favors. It also prohibits entertaining public officials and their relatives.
  2. Presidential Decree No. 677 requires the Statement of Assets and Liabilities to be submitted every year.
  3. Presidential Decree No. 749 grants immunity from prosecution to givers of bribes and other gifts and to their accomplices in bribery charges if they testify against the public officials or private persons guilty of those offenses.

CONSTITUTIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION BODIES

The 1987 Philippine Constitution has created constitutional bodies to deal on graft and corruption and to effectively implement the provisions of public accountability. These bodies are granted fiscal authority to ensure their independence and their actions are appealable only to the Supreme Court. These constitutional bodies are:

a) The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB)

The Office of the Ombudsman investigates and acts on complaints filed against public officials and employees, and serves as the “people’s watchdog†of the government. The Ombudsman and his deputies (Overall Deputy Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, One Deputy Ombudsman each for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) are the “protectors of the peopleâ€. This office:

i) oversees the general and specific performance of official functions so that laws are properly administered;

ii) ensures the steady and efficient delivery of public services;

iii) initiates the refinement of public procedures and practices; and

iv) imposes administrative sanctions on erring government officials and employees, and prosecute them for penal violations.

b) The Civil Service Commission (CSC)

The CSC is the central personnel agency of the government which is mandated to establish a career service and promote moral, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service. It shall also strengthen the merit and rewards system, human resource development, and public accountability. It has jurisdiction over administrative cases including graft and corruption brought before it on appeal.

c) The Commission on Audit (COA)

The COA is the watchdog of the financial operations of the government. It is empowered to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property under the custody of government agencies and instrumentalities. It shall promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or use of government funds and properties.

d) The Sandiganbayan

The Sandiganbayan is the anti-graft court of the Philippines. It has jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees. It is in charge of maintaining morality, integrity and efficiency in the public service.

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