Solon bats for strengthening protection for whistleblowers

“It is sad that one of the witnesses on the ‘Good Conduct Time Allowance scam’ got cold feet and backed out, while another was killed.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate pushed anew for the passage of bills seeking to protect whistleblowers following the death of another witness to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) scam.

In a statement, Zarate called on the Congress leadership to fast tack the passage of pending bills, House Bill 4387 and 4388, which the Makabayan bloc filed last year.

The bills aim to encourage more witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward to expose crime and corruption.

“It is sad that one of the witnesses on the ‘GCTA scam’ got cold feet and backed out, while another was killed, but with the enactment of HB 4387 and 4388, they would be a whole new mechanism for their safety, among others,” Zarate said in a statement.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Legal Chief Fredric Anthony Santos was killed on Feb. 19 near his daughter’s school in barangay Poblacion, Muntinlupa City. He testified last year during the Senate’s investigation on the alleged release of heinous crime convicts under the GCTA Law.

Santos is the 15th BuCor killed outside National Bilibid Prison, according to Senator Richard Gordon.

Zarate said the legislative measures will protect whistleblowers like Immigration Officer Allison “Alex” Chiong, who recently testified during the Senate probe on “pastillas scam” at the Bureau of Immigration.

Chiong allegedly received death threats after he exposed that Chinese nationals are allegedly bribing immigration officers for a smooth entry in the Philippines.

The bills state that “the lack of 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.”

Zarate said the bills, if enacted, “would also prevent double standards and special treatment as well as penalize false witnesses and whistleblowers.” ()

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