Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the Department of Justice supports Senate Bill 118 that aims to make “influence peddling” in the government a crime.
According to the bill, it will be unlawful for any individual “to represent himself as being able to influence, either orally or otherwise to facilitate or assist another person with business, application, request or contract with the government in which a public official or employee has to act or intervene.”
The senate bill, authored by Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, is in line with the government’s fight against rampant graft and corruption.
He emphasized that the current Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act only provides sanction for individuals who accept material gifts or leverage on the merits of their public position even with the absence of lawful capabilities to directly or indirectly intervene with government transactions.
“The proposed legislation is not only in complete agreement with constitutionally declared policy of the state to maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and to take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption. It is also clearly in line with the thrust of the present administration to eradicate graft and corruption in the government,” de Lima said.
Should the bill become a law, violators will be imprisoned for up to six years and/or fined PhP 100,000. The violator will also be disqualified from holding and running for public office.