Bill to protect, reward whistleblowers filed

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A CEBUANO lawmaker filed a bill that establishes a legal framework for rewards, protection and security to whistleblowers.

House Bill 2493 or the proposed "Whistleblower Protection, Security and Benefit Act of 2014" seeks to ensure protection against reprisals and criminal and civil liability, safety of the whistleblowers and their families, public disclosures to proper public authorities, prevention of inappropriate publication of unsubstantiated disclosures and safety and security of proper records on disclosures.

"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," the bill's author Representative Gabriel Luis Quisumbing (Cebu, sixth district) said.


Quisumbing noted that 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."

"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 said.

Under the bill, a whistleblower will receive P200,000 upon admission into the Witness Protection Program (WPP) 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.

If the case is not susceptible to pecuniary estimation, the whistleblower shall receive P100,000 upon admission into the WPP, additional P50,000 upon filing of the case with the Office of the Ombudsman and another P50,000 upon completion of the testimony.

Any person who shall commit any act of reprisal against a whistleblower or hinder delay, prevent or dissuade said informant should face imprisonment of not less than six years but not more than 12 years or a fine of not more than P100,000 or both at the discretion of the court.

A Whistleblower Benefits and Protection Council to be chaired by the Overall Deputy Ombudsman shall also be created to implement all the provisions of the Act. (Sunnex)

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