Press Release
February 10, 2018


To begin with, there exists a clear and valid distinction between private individuals and public officials and employees.

The equal protection clause does not prohibit classification. What it demands is for everyone in the same class (e.g. government employees and officials) to be held to the same standard.

Employees and officials of the government is a sector or group that is recognized specifically. To this end, laws for government employees are introduced and passed, e.g. Salary Standardization Law, Code of Ethical Standards for Government Employees, and others.

Further, we can hold government employees and officials to a higher standard. Public office is a public trust. It has always been the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. We, as public officials and employees, are required to be at all times accountable to the people and we are expected to discharge our duties with utmost responsibility and integrity, and we should uphold public interest over personal interest.

For instance are private individuals required to file their SALNs? Are private individuals susceptible to administrative cases on their own? The answer is no.

Let's go to the law in question, RA 6713. This is the law we seek to amend. The title itself, "Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees," is a law about government officials. Can you put a provision there that penalizes a private individual? Of course not, because it only applies to public officials and employees.

Amending R.A. 6713 will ensure that public officials will be liable for the act of publishing false information.

With my bill, we are determined to make sure that we keep our sworn responsibilities abreast with the digital age.

I disagree with Mr. Roque's reading of the Constitution. His false annotation of the fundamental law is as flawed as is his protective stance over the spread of false information. That is tragic.

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