"The recent controversies surrounding the ZTE broadband deal, the multi-million peso fertilizer scam and the alleged bid-rigging activities of some contractors involved in World Bank-funded projects were all alleged to have been brokered by some very prominent and even high-ranking officials. It is high time we make it a crime to do so," he said.
Escudero filed Senate Bill 1242 defining the crime of influence peddling and imposing a jail term of not more than six years and a fine not exceeding P100,000 on violators of the proposed law.
"Prior to the receipt of any bribe or the actual act of intervening, however, is the offer or representation made by a person that he can influence the public official or employee required by law to intervene or be able to assist and/or facilitate a transaction, contract or request with the government which, up to now, remains unabated," he said.
The 39-year-old senator said that existing laws seeking to prevent or abate graft and corruption in government already penalize persons who receive bribes and those who actually intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government.
The bill seeks to plug this loophole in our current anti-corruption laws by penalizing influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government even before any bribe is given.
The bill, which is now pending before the Committees on Civil Service and Government Reorganization and on Justice and Human Rights, also seeks to disqualify those found guilty of influence peddling from holding any public office.#