House body passes bills to protect whistleblowers
MANILA, Philippines—The House justice committee approved bills strengthening the witness protection program and installing a whistleblowers’ protection act.
The justice body chaired by Iloilo representative Niel Tupas Jr. moved to approve the proposed measures for the plenary debate.
The five bills filed on witness protection program sought to strengthen the program under the Department of Justice by, among others, establishing a witness protection bureau, amending for the purpose the Witness Protection, Security, and Benefit Act.
The measure also sought to give the secretary of the Department of Justice the power to change the identities of witnesses without need for judicial order.
Meanwhile, the 10 bills filed calling for a whistleblowers’ protection act seek to protect and reward whistleblowers who expose corruption in government.
The rewards amount to P50,000 to P200,000 depending on the stage of the case.
The proposed law also sought to punish whistleblowers who make false allegations only to get the reward. The penalty against the fake whistleblower should be the same penalty imposed against the person falsely accused by the whistleblower.
The whistleblowers protection bill or House Bill 5715 was passed on third and final reading under the 15th Congress but the Senate failed to pass its own version.
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