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Anonymity and Witness Protection in the Philippines

A whistleblower system is a facility, system or set of procedures that enables someone to freely report fraud, violations of laws, rules and regulations or misconduct to people of authority. In the Philippines there are several laws to protect witnesses to battle bribery and other corrupt practices. In spite of this, the Philippines is still ranked number 95 in the global corruption perceptions index of 2015. 

… laws barely meet the need of protecting and supporting a whistleblower himself. ProActive has been design to safeguard the anonymity of a whistleblower while providing a feedback loop

One possible reason may be that laws barely meet the need of protecting and supporting a whistleblower himself. The existing legal framework fails to supplement attractive incentives for actual whistleblowing, where anonymity could conflict with becoming a witness.

Republic Act No. 6981: The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act

  • This law encourages individuals who have witnessed or have knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority by providing them protection from retaliation and from economic dislocation. The witness in danger or his or her family will be required to apply to and get the approval of the Department of Justice in order to avail of the witness protection program. Relocation to a safe area/and or given a new personal identity may be given to the witness and any member of his or her family within second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, after being honorable discharged as a witness.

Presidential Decree No. 749: Granting Immunity from Prosecution to Givers of Bribes and other Gifts and to their Accomplices in Bribery and other Graft Cases against Public Officers

  • Issued in 1975, this law grants immunity from prosecution to bribe givers and their accomplices who serve as witness in graft cases against public officers. This law was issued due to the difficulty of convicting and removing the dishonest public servants due to the lack of witnesses.

Though these laws protect the witness, they compel a whistleblower to reveal his identity in exchange for the government’s protection. These laws do not provide the anonymity and confidentiality. For whatever reason, a whistleblower should have the option to be anonymous and therefore cannot be compelled to be either a witness or a complainant.

Hence, this calls for a need of a specific law that will govern whistleblowing in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte has urged lawmakers to pass a law that would protect whistleblowers as part of the government’s efforts to address criminality in the country.

“To eradicate the prevalent cultures of fear and silence that have hounded our justice system, I ask Congress, you, to enact the Whistleblower Protection Law while the present Witness Protection Program shall be strengthened,”
         - Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, State of the Nation Address, 25 July 2016.

Addressing this concern, ProActive has been design to safeguard the anonymity of a whistleblower. It has the ability to communicate with the whistleblower while keeping anonymity intact. It is also secure and accessible to enable this feedback loop.