MANILA, Philippines — A bill penalizing any person who engages in influence peddling has been filed at the Senate.
Senate Bill 118, authored by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, seeks to clip corruption “at its inception” even before any gift or present is given to a public official or employee in connection with any business transaction, application, request or contract with the government.
Escudero noted that while there are laws penalizing government officials and employees receiving gifts or money, the practice “remains unabated.”
“It is this gap which this bill seeks 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 effectively clipping corruption at its inception even before any gift or present is given and even before there has actually been an intervention in connection with such request or transaction,” the senator said in his explanatory note in the bill.
“With the enactment into law of this bill, it is believed that an effective deterrent will be set up to nip corruption at the bud and prior to any damage being inflicted upon government coffers as well as on our people with legitimate transactions or dealings with government,” he added.
Under the bill, it will be unlawful for any person to engage in influence peddling, which is defined 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.”
Any person who will engage in influence peddling, under the measure, will be punished by imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine not exceeding P100,000 or both, and disqualification to hold public office.