Corrupt public officials should pay for their crimes –lawmakersCorrupt public officials should pay for their crimes –lawmakers

Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV speaks with Former Makati Vice Mayor Nestor Mercado and Engr. Mario Hechanova. (MNS photo)

Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV speaks with Former Makati Vice Mayor Nestor Mercado and Engr. Mario Hechanova. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Noting the slow pace of the country’s criminal justice system, lawmakers stressed the need to pursue a revision of an antiquated statute allowing violators to escape criminal liabilities by a mere technicality.

“In particular, there is an urgent need to plug a legal escape route for violators of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” they stressed.

The lawmakers are confidently awaiting Senate concurrence on HB 4146 which would prevent violators of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act from escaping their criminal liability by the mere technicality of prescription.

HB 4146, a substitute bill for the original HB 3425 authored by two veteran legislators — Rep. Giorgidi B. Aggabao and Rep. Joaquin M. Chipeco, Jr., is entitled “An Act increasing the prescriptive period from fifteen (15) years to thirty (30) years for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the ‘Anti-Graft and corrupt Practices Act’, amending Section 11 thereof.”

Aggabao and Chipeco recalled that the House of Representatives approved on final reading HB 4146 as early as May 12, 2014, and promptly transmitted the same to the Senate for the smaller Chamber’s consideration.

The House Committee on Revision of Laws chaired by Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas, the authors acknowledged, was so instrumental in the successful sponsorship and defense of the measure during plenary debates until its third reading passage in May last year.

Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019 is proposed to be amended to read as follows: “Sec. 11. Prescription of Offenses. – All offenses punishable under this Act shall prescribe in thirty years.”

“The extension of another fifteen years would ensure that those who violate the said Act would not be able to escape liability by mere technicality under the current 15-year prescription period,” Chipeco and Aggabao pointed out.

They added that the proposed amendment to the prescriptive period is also in compliance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to which the Philippines is a signatory.

“The country’s judicial system is surely in need of being reformed and updated to ensure that justice would continue reign supreme under a strong democratic system,” the authors stressed. (MNS)

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