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R.A.6713, CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES

REPUBLIC ACT 6713 Section 7, para.(d) states that:

(d) Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. - Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE UNSCHEDULED MEETING BETWEEN 190 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES IS NOT DOCUMENTED, IT IS A MEETING WHERE NO OFFICIAL MINUTES WERE RECORDED AND NO OFFICIAL CEREMONIES AND OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS WERE HANDED TO EACH REPRESENTATIVE TO PROVE THAT THE MONEY FILLED ENVELOPES THAT THEY RECEIVED WERE AWARDS OR INCENTIVES GIVEN TO THEM AS AN OFFICIAL ACT.

THAT AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT CITING THE NAMES OF THE RECIPIENTS AND THE NARRATIVE OR DESCRIPTION OF THEIR COMMENDABLE ACTS OR DEEDS DOES NOT EXIST FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL WHO ATTENTED THE MEETING AND THE FACT THAT THE MEDIA WAS EXCLUDED FROM COVERING THE AWARDING CEREMONIES MEANS THAT THE TRANSACTION WAS CONDUCTED UNDER THE TABLE AND OF SUCH A NATURE THAT VIOLATES THE LAW.

NAP

Cash gift ‘standard’--House leader

This is when we’ve done something good, he says

MANILA, Philippines -- Legislators at the House of Representatives sometimes receive allowances or incentives whenever they have accomplished something, a leader at the House of Representatives admitted Friday.

In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net, Majority Floor Leader Arthur Defensor said there was nothing unusual if congressmen would receive financial assistance from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whenever there were elections.

“Kahit congressmen o governors tinutulungan naman ng Presidente basta may election [The President helps even congressmen or governors]. Standard naman yun e [That is standard],” he said.

“Pero yung sinabing lahat binigyan. Hindi totoo yun. Nakita mo naman yung picture ko sa Inquirer, may nakita ka bang hawak ko na envelope? Makapal ang P500,000, mahirap itago yun [But the report saying all were given, that is not true. You saw my picture in the Inquirer, did you see me holding an envelope? P500,000 is thick. That’s difficult to hide],” he said.

Defensor was referring to the front page photo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer where he and other legislators were seen walking with the President after their breakfast meeting in Malacañang Thursday.

But if it was true that the President distributed funds for the barangay (village) elections this October 29, Defensor said he had not seen this and has not received anything.

“Kung may binigay mang tulong, hindi naman siguro harap-harapan [If help was given, maybe it was done discreetly],” he said.

Defensor confirmed that congressmen would receive an allowance and sometimes incentive whenever they have done something good.

“May mga allowance yan pero walang aamin diyan. May bonus kung merong ma-accomplish na maganda ang Kongreso pero hindi naman binibigay yun tuwing break [There are allowances, but no one will admit that. There is a bonus if Congress has accomplished something but this is not given during break],” he said.

This was the reason why Defensor said his colleagues repeatedly chanted “bonus” on the floor when they approved the 2008 budget on second reading early Friday.

“Ganun ang congressmen, they always expect kapag nagtrabaho sila ng maayos [Congressmen are like that. They always expect when they work hard],’ the Majority Leader said.

But opposition Representative Rufus Rodriguez is convinced that the money supposedly given to administration allies was meant to kill the impeachment complaint against the President.

Rodriguez said that at least four administration lawmakers have confirmed to him that they had received P500,000 from Malcañang. He refused to identify them.

He said the move was suspect, citing the sequence of events that started with the meeting in Malacañang early Thursday, a press conference by Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. in the House announcing that he would inhibit from the proceedings, and the hasty referral of the case to the justice committee.

The opposition claims that the complaint is weak and its hasty referral to the committee will protect the President against another complaint at least for a year.




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