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Phl whistleblowers’ protection sought
In House Bill 2493, Rep. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing (6th District, Cebu) said that aside from providing a monetary reward scheme, it also ensures protection against reprisals and criminal and civil liability of whistleblowers.
Quisumbing also said the bill ensures safety of the whistleblowers and their families from public disclosures to proper public authorities, prevention of inappropriate publication of unsubstantiated disclosures and safety and security of proper records on disclosures.
Seeking an immediate approval of the bill, the lawmaker said it "is in consonance and furtherance of the constitutional mandate that a public office is a public trust and where honesty and integrity shall be maintained at all times."
According to Quisumbing, "the lack of a legal framework for rewards, protection and security to whistleblowers has resulted in their minimal protection from probable retaliation, trial by publicity, outright miscarriage of justice or summary execution."
"This being the case, corrupt government officials and employees are emboldened to engage in nefarious activities as they feel little fear of exposure or being caught and brought to justice. Meanwhile, potential whistleblowers are discouraged, demoralized and dissuaded because they anticipate nothing but hardship when evaluating the effect of any disclosure. Such circumstances aggravate the worsening condition of graft and corruption in the country," Quisumbing stressed.
He said a mechanism to secure the person of a whistleblower and counter the stigma of ostracism must be set up so that any potential whistleblower or informant on graft and corrupt activities will not hesitate to come out in the open.
Under the bill to be known as Whistleblower Protection, Security and Benefit Act of 2013, a whistleblower will receive P200,000 upon admission into the Witness Protection Program if the case is susceptible to pecuniary estimation such as plunder, forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth, bribery, malversation and damage or injury to government.
The whistleblower will receive an additional P100,000 upon filing of the case with the Office of the Ombudsman and another P100,000 upon completion of the testimony. He or she shall be entitled to an additional reward of ten percent of the amount recovered by virtue of final judgment.