MANILA (Mabuhay) — As endorsed by the House Committee on Revision of Laws, the House of Representatives has approved on second reading the proposed statute penalizing influence peddling in public transactions as contained in House Bill No. 4821.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas, along with its authors, strongly defended in plenary the bill entitled the “Anti-Influence Peddling Act,” in substitution of the original HB 1585 principally authored by Rep. Evelina G. Escudero.
“We have to clip corruption at its inception by preventing the commission of influence peddling,” Escudero stressed as she expressed her gratitude to the support given her measure by members of the committee, particularly those who enlisted as co-authors like Rep. Joselito R. Mendoza, Rep. Henry S. Oaminal and Chairperson Primicias-Agabas.
Under HB 4821, influence peddling refers to “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 the public official or employee has to intervene, in consideration of any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage.”
Escudero noted that existing law penalizes anyone who receives a present, gift or any material or financial advantage as well as those who, without being legally authorized to do so, actually intervenes, directly or indirectly, in any transactions, applications, requests or contracts with the government.
However, the author pointed out that prior to receiving any gift or the actual act of intervening is the offer or representation made by a person that he can influence the public official or employee required by law to intervene or be able to assist in a transaction, contract or request with the government which, up to now, remains unabated.
“It is this gap that we want to fill by penalizing influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government. Thus, clipping corruption at its initiation even before any gift or present is given and even before there has actually been an intervention in connection with such request or transaction,” Escudero said.
Section 4 of the proposed law provides: “Any person who engages in influence peddling as defined by this Act shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than six (6) years or a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand pesos (Php 100,000), or both, and disqualification to hold public office.” (MNS)