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L. Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees

1. CONCEPTS

“Government” – includes the National Government, the local governments, and all other instrumentalities, agencies or branches of the Republic of the Philippines including government-owned or controlled corporations, and their subsidiaries. (Section 3[a], R.A. 6713, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees)

“Public Officials” – includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including military and police personnel, whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount. (Section 3[b], Ibid.)

“Gift” – refers to a thing or a right disposed of gratuitously, or any act of liberality, in favor of another who accepts it, and shall include a simulated sale or an ostensibly onerous disposition thereof. It shall not include an unsolicited gift of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor from a public official or employee. (Section 3[c], Ibid.)

“Receiving any gift” – includes the act of accepting, directly or indirectly, a gift from a person other than a member of his family or relative as defined in R.A. 6713, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is neither nominal nor insignificant, or the gift is given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor. (Section 3[d], Ibid.)

“Loan” – covers both simple loan and commodatum as well as guarantees, financing arrangements or accommodations intended to ensure its approval. (Section 3[e], Ibid.)

“Substantial stockholder” – means any person who owns, directly or indirectly, shares of stock sufficient to elect a director of a corporation. This term shall also apply to the parties to a voting trust. (Section 3[f], Ibid.)

“Family of public officials or employees” – means their spouses and unmarried children under eighteen (18) years of age. (Section 3[g], Ibid.)

“Person” – includes natural and juridical persons unless the context indicates otherwise. (Section 3[h], Ibid.)

“Conflict of interest” – arises when a public official or employee is a member of a board, an officer, or a substantial stockholder of a private corporation or owner or has a substantial interest in a business, and the interest of such corporation or business, or his rights or duties therein, may be opposed to or affected by the faithful performance of official duty. (Section 3[i], Ibid.)

“Divestment” – is the transfer of title or disposal of interest in property by voluntarily, completely and actually depriving or dispossessing oneself of his right or title to it in favor of a person or persons other than his spouse and relatives as defined in R.A. 6713. (Section 3[j], Ibid.)

“Relatives” refers to any and. all persons related to a public official or employee within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, including bilas, inso and balae. (Section 3[k], Ibid.)

2. PROHIBITED ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS

In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

1) Financial and material interest. – Public officials and employees shall not, directly or indirectly, have any financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.

2) Outside employment and other activities related thereto. – Public officials and employees during their incumbency shall not:

a) Own, control, manage or accept employment as officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker, agent, trustee or nominee in any private enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by their office unless expressly allowed by law;

b) Engage in the private practice of their profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their official functions; or

c) Recommend any person to any position in a private enterprise which has a regular or pending official transaction with their office.

These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a period of one (1) year after resignation, retirement, or separation from public office, except in the case of subparagraph (b) (2) above, but the professional concerned cannot practice his profession in connection with any matter before the office he used to be with, in which case the one-year prohibition shall likewise apply.

3) Disclosure and/or misuse of confidential information. – Public officials and employees shall not use or divulge, confidential or classified information officially known to them by reason of their office and not made available to the public, either:

a) To further their private interests, or give undue advantage to anyone; or

b) To prejudice the public interest.

4) 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. (Section 7, Ibid.)

GIFTS/GRANTS FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS: As to gifts or grants from foreign governments, the Congress consents to:

1) The acceptance and retention by a public official or employee of a gift of nominal value tendered and received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy;

2) The acceptance by a public official or employee of a gift in the nature of a scholarship or fellowship grant or medical treatment; or

3) The acceptance by a public official or employee of travel grants or expenses for travel taking place entirely outside the Philippines (such as allowances, transportation, food, and lodging) of more than nominal value if such acceptance is appropriate or consistent with the interests of the Philippines, and permitted by the head of office, branch or agency to which he belongs. (Paragraph 2, Section 7, Ibid.)

3. PENALTIES

1) Any public official or employee, regardless of whether or not he holds office or employment in a casual, temporary, holdover, permanent or regular capacity, committing any violation of R.A. 6713 shall be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six (6) months salary or suspension not exceeding one (1) year, or removal depending on the gravity of the offense after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency.

2) If the violation is punishable by a heavier penalty under another law, he shall be prosecuted under the latter statute. Violations of Sections 7, 8 or 9 of R.A. 6713shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00), or both, and, in the discretion of the court of competent jurisdiction, disqualification to hold public office. (Section 11[a], Ibid.)

REMOVAL OR DISMISSAL EVEN IF NO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION: Any violation hereof proven in a proper administrative proceeding shall be sufficient cause for removal or dismissal of a public official or employee, even if no criminal prosecution is instituted against him. (Section 11[b], Ibid.)

PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS: Private individuals who participate in conspiracy as co-principals, accomplices or accessories, with public officials or employees, in violation of R.A. 6713, shall be subject to the same penal liabilities as the public officials or employees and shall be tried jointly with them. (Section 11[c], Ibid.)

ACTION FOR UNLAWFUL USE OF STATEMENT FILED UNDER R.A. 6713: The official or employee concerned may bring an action against any person who obtains or uses a report for any purpose prohibited by Section 8 (D) of R.A. 6713. The Court in which such action is brought may assess against such person a penalty in any amount not to exceed twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00). If another sanction hereunder or under any other law is heavier, the latter shall apply. (Section 11[d], Ibid.)

Cross-referenced article

Prohibited acts. – It shall be unlawful for any person to obtain or use any statement filed under R.A. 6713 for:

1) Any purpose contrary to morals or public policy; or

2) Any commercial purpose other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public. (Section 8[D], Ibid.)

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