What Law Punishes Corruption
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Corruption is one of the main problems in the Philippines. It is always part of the promises of the public officials to solve during their term alongside the eradication of poverty. As a matter of fact, the government has been doing its part to combat corruption in the country by enacting laws and imposing penalties on it.

For instance, the Revised Penal Code (RPC) has provisions for bribery and corruption of public officials, the Congress also enacted on August 17, 1960, the Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act.

What is Republic Act No. 3019? 

R.A 3019 is known as the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act which Congress enacted to suppress the public officers and private persons from committing acts that constitute graft or corrupt practices, or which may lead thereto.

In addition, it is the main anti-corruption law of the country which aims to uphold the principle that “a public office is a public trust.” Hence, the law also provides that every public officer must submit their Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) after assuming office within the month of January, upon the expiration of their term of office, or upon his resignation or separation from office.

Aside from the acts provided in the crime of bribery and corruption of public officials in the RPC, R.A 3019 added unlawful acts or omissions which can be penalized under the said law when committed.

Prohibited Acts for Public Officers:

Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.

  • Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.
  • Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without prejudice to Section thirteen therein.
  • Accepting or having any member of his family accept employment in a private enterprise which has pending official business with him during the pendency thereof or within one year after its termination.
  • Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
  • Neglecting or refusing, after due demand or request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.
  • Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.
  • Directly or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.
  • Directly or indirectly becoming interested, for personal gain, or having a material interest in any transaction or act requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate in the action of the board, committee, panel or group.
  • Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled.
  • Divulging valuable information of a confidential character, acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position to unauthorized persons, or releasing such information in advance of its authorized release date.
  • To acquire or receive any personal pecuniary interest in any specific business enterprise which will be directly and particularly favored or benefited by any law or resolution authored by him previously approved or adopted by the Congress during the same term. (Applicable to the Members of the Congress during their term)

Prohibited Acts for Private Persons:

  • To capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which such public official has to intervene.
  • To induce or cause any public official to commit any of the offenses enumerated above.

Prohibited Act for the Spouse and Relatives of the Elected Officials in the Executive and Legislative Department Within the Third Civil Degree by Consanguinity or Affinity:

  • To intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or application with the Government. (Except when the person has already been dealing with the government in the same line of business prior to the assumption of office of the relative)

What is the Punishment for Corruption in the Philippines? 

R.A 3019 provides for the punishment in violation of the said law with the prescription of ten years, and public officers shall not be allowed to resign or retire during the pendency of his criminal or administrative prosecution for the violation of this Act, or committing bribery under the Revised Penal Code.

The punishments for the violation of this Act [R.A. No. 3019] are the following:

  • Imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 10 years
  • Perpetual disqualification from public office
  • Confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income.
  • Suspension and loss of benefits.

Corruption of Public Officials 

Corruption of Public Official is a crime defined and penalized under Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code. The elements of the crime of corruption of public official are as follows:

(1) the offender offers, promises or gives gifts or presents to any public officer, and

(2) that said offers, promise or gifts are given to a public officer in a manner that it will render said public officer liable to direct or indirect bribery

Corollary thereto, direct and indirect bribery are punishable under Article 210 and Article 211 of the Revised Penal Code.

How is Corruption of Public Official committed?

The crime of Corruption of Public Officials is concerned with the liability of any person who offers, promises or one who gives gifts or presents to any public officer. Mere offer, promise or giving of any gifts or presents is punishable even if not made voluntarily by the offender.

Under Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalties imposed upon the officer corrupted shall, likewise, be imposed upon any person who shall have made the offers or promises or given the gifts or presents as described in Article 210 and Article 211 of the Revised Penal Code, except the penalty of suspension and disqualification.

Related Examples

Example, when the offender offers a gift to a public officer and such gift is given to the latter by reason of his office and said public officer accepts the same, he is penalized under Article 211 for Indirect Bribery with penalty of prision correcional in its medium and maximum period and public censure, the offender who gave the gift must also be penalized with the penalty the same as of that in corrupted public officer.

Attempted Corruption of Public Officials 

The crime of corruption of public official may not only happen in its consummated stage but also in attempted phase. The said crime is attempted whenever the offender of the crime offers, promises or gives gifts or presents to a public officer but the latter refuses said offer, promise, or declined the acceptance of the gift or any present.

Related Jurisprudence

In the case of People vs. Ng Peng, the court had made a pronouncement that the herein accused committed a crime of Corruption of Public Official because although the accused delivered and offered money to the police officer, the latter refused to accept such and refused to be corrupted.

Penalty Imposed

As to penalty, while Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code only provides penalty for those consummated acts, applying Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code, the punishment is lower by two degrees than that prescribed by the law for the consummated Corruption of Public Official.

To further understand the application of the law, here are some examples:

  1. When a person who wishes to file a small claims case gave to the court stenographer employed in Municipal Trial Court P3,000 as gratitude because of his help for the filing of small claims case.
  2. The owner of the land subject to the administrative reconstitution of title offered a piece of land to the officer-in-charge of the Registry of Deed.
  3. The secretary of the corporation promised a share of stock to the employee of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The court, in the case of Gregorio Pozar vs. Court of Appeals, had discussed the crime of Corruption of Public Official as charged against the accused. In this case, the accused, applying for probation, gave to the City Probation Officer the sum of P100.00 under the circumstances that the said probation officer be liable for bribery.

Accused contended that the said money is intended for expenses in the copying or reproduction of the documents the accused needed for his application. Trial court found that accused is guilty of the crime of Corruption of Public Official which was then affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court ruled that the trial court erred when it ruled that the accused is guilty of the said crime as consummated offense because it is clear in the evidence that the probation officer did not accept the P100.00. Thus, the crime of attempted corruption of public official was committed. However, the Supreme Court acquitted the accused in this case as the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

What is Indirect Bribery? 

Indirect bribery is committed by any public officer who shall accept gifts offered to him by reason of his office. (Article 211 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by B.P. Blg. 871, approved May 29, 1985)

Elements of Indirect Bribery

In the commission of indirect bribery, the first element is that the offender must be a public officer.

  • A public officer, as provided under Article 203 of the Revised Penal Code, is any person who, by direct provision of the law, popular election or appointment by competent authority, shall take part in the performance of public functions in the Government of the Philippine Islands, or shall perform in said Government or in any of its branches public duties as an employee, agent, or subordinate official, of any rank or class.

The second element is that the public officer accepts gifts.

Third, the said gifts are offered to the public officer by reason of his office.

By the time the public officer accepts gifts by reason of his office, the crime is already consummated because all of its elements are present. There is neither an attempted nor frustrated stage in its execution.

Punishment Under the Law

The penalties of prision correcional, in its medium and maximum periods, suspension, and public censure shall be imposed upon the offender in the commission of indirect bribery as provided under Article 211 of the Revised Penal Code.

Direct Bribery versus Indirect Bribery

Direct BriberyIndirect Bribery
1. The public officer receives gift; and

2. The public officer agrees to perform or performs an act or refrains from doing something, because of the gift or promise.
1. The public officer receives gift; and

2. It is not necessary that the public officer should do any particular act or even promise to do an act, as it is enough that he accepts gifts offered to him by reason of his office.

Indirect Bribery versus Qualified Bribery

Indirect Bribery Qualified Bribery
1. The offender is any public officer who accepts gifts offered to him by reason of his office;
2. The gift given to the public officer is in anticipation of future favor from him
1. The offender is any public officer entrusted with law enforcement;

2. The gift given to the public officer is for a favor to refrain him from arresting or prosecuting an offender who has committed a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua and/or death.

RALB Law | RABR & Associates Law Firm

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