De Lima supports House bill barring grafters, plunderers from public service

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed support to a House measure disqualifying persons convicted of corruption from holding public office, even while an appeal is pending, to help eradicate corruption and promote transparency in government service.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, said the government should close its doors to dishonest and corrupt officials and protect the people’s money from greedy individuals with vested interests.

“We should strictly adhere to the tenet that public office is a public trust. Persons convicted of corruption – those whom we know will only abuse their office and pocket more taxpayers’ money – do not deserve to have a place in government,” she said.

“Hahayaan pa ba nating paswelduhin, gamit ang mga pinaghirapang buwis ng mamamayan, ang mga nagbulsa ng pondo at nagpakasasa sa mga ninakaw nila sa kaban ng bayan?” she asked.

House Bill 92, filed by Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, seeks to preserve “the sanctity of candidacy” for public office by amending Sections 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, and impose penalties including temporary or perpetual disqualification.

He proposed to instantly disqualify a potential candidate if he/she has been declared guilty either of graft, plunder, bribery and acts of terrorism.

“With the rampant corruption in government especially under the Duterte regime, we need a law, now more than ever, that will prevent individuals with graft record to seek public post,” said De Lima

The lady Senator from Bicol said the government should genuinely work in stopping corruption, even before such measure passes into law, by prosecuting and jailing thieves in the government, instead of freeing them or simply asking them to resign from their post.

“As public servants, we should always be accountable to the Filipino people at all times. It is our duty to expose corruption in government and ensure that offenders will be held accountable for their crimes,” she said.

“Hindi naman dahil kaalayado natin ang isang opisyal ay magbubulag-bulagan na lang tayo sa pagnanakaw niya sa kaban ng bayan at puwede sanang gamitin sa mas makabuluhang proyekto, tulad ng rehabilitasyon ng mga komunidad na sinalanta ng kalamidad o pagtulong sa mga tinamaan ng malubhang karamdaman,” she added. De Lima likewise pointed out that the challenge now for the Filipino public is to not allow unmitigated and unchecked corruption in the Duterte administration to continue to go unresolved.

“Let’s continue to speak out against corruption and corrupt officials and not turn a blind eye on the abuse of power in the government,” said De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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