Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007

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In addition to laws that deals with red tape, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 9485, also known as the "Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007". This law seeks to improve efficiency in the delivery of government service to the public by reducing bureaucratic red tape, preventing graft and corruption.


Contents

Coverage

The law covers only government agencies. All government offices and agencies are covered, including local government units and government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that provide frontline services.[1]

Exceptions

Certain government offices and agencies are excluded from the coverage of the law, to wit:[2]

Officer or Employee, defined

It refers to a person employed in a government office or agency required to perform specific duties and responsibilities related to the application or request submitted by a client for processing.[3]

Action, defined

An "action" refers to the written approval or disapproval made by a government office or agency on the application or request submitted by a client for processing.[4]


Fixer, defined

Any individual, whether or not officially involved in the operation of a government office or agency, who has access to people working therein, and whether or not in collusion with them, facilitates speedy completion of transactions for pecuniary gain or any other advantage or consideration.

Liabilities of a fixer

  • Administrative. The act of fixing and/or collusion with fixers in consideration of economic and/or other gain or advantage is considered a grave offense, punishable with a penalty of dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service.
  • Criminal. In addition, the fixer shall be criminally liable and suffer the following penalties, at the discretion of the court:
- imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years, or
- a fine not less than Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) but not more than Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00)
- or both fine and imprisonment


Citizen’s Charter

All covered agencies shall set up their respective service standards to be known as the Citizen's Charter in the form of information billboards which should be posted at the main entrance of offices or at the most conspicuous place, and in the form of published materials written either in English, Filipino, or in the local dialect, that detail:[5]

  • The procedure to obtain a particular service
  • The person/s responsible for each step
  • The maximum time to conclude the process
  • The document/s to be presented by the customer, if necessary
  • The amount of fees, if necessary
  • The procedure for filing complaints


Automatic extension of permits

Aside from the liabilities provided under the law, if a government office or agency fails to act on an application and/or request for renewal of a license, permit or authority subject for renewal within the prescribed period, said permit, license or authority shall automatically be extended until a decision or resolution is rendered on the application for renewal.[6]

However, the automatic extension shall not apply when the permit, license, or authority covers activities which pose danger to public health, public safety, public morals or to public policy including, but not limited to, natural resource extraction activities.[7]


Accessing Frontline Services

Definition

It is the the process or transaction between clients and government offices or agencies involving applications for any privilege, right, permit, reward, license, concession, or for any modification, renewal or extension of the enumerated applications and/or requests which are acted upon in the ordinary course of business of the agency or office concerned.[8]


Matters to be adopted

With respect to accessing frontline services, the following must be adopted by all government offices and agencies.[9]

Acceptance of Applications and Request

  • All officers or employees shall accept written applications, requests, and/or documents being submitted by clients of the office or agencies.
  • The responsible officer or employee shall acknowledge receipt of such application and/or request by writing or printing clearly thereon his/her name, the unit where he/she is connected with, and the time and date of receipt.
  • The receiving officer or employee shall perform a preliminary assessment of the request so as to promote a more expeditious action on requests.

Action of Offices

  • All applications and/or requests submitted shall be acted upon by the assigned officer or employee during the period stated in the Citizen’s Charter which shall not be longer than five working days in the case of simple transactions and ten (10) working days in the case of complex transactions from the date the request or application was received. Depending on the nature of the frontline services requested or the mandate of the office or agency under unusual circumstances, the maximum time prescribed above may be extended. For the extension due to nature of frontline services or the mandate of the office or agency concerned the period for the delivery of frontline services shall be indicated in the Citizen’s Charter. The office or agency concerned shall notify the requesting party in writing of the reason for the extension and the final date of release for the extension and the final date of release of the frontline service/s requested.
  • No application or request shall be returned to the client without appropriate action. In case an application or request is disapproved, the officer or employee who rendered the decision shall send a formal notice to the client within five working days from the receipt of the request and/or application, stating therein the reason for the disapproval including a list of specific requirement/s which the client failed to submit.

Denial of Request for Access to Government Service

Any denial of request for access to government service shall be fully explained in writing, stating the name of the person making the denial and the grounds upon which such denial is based. Any denial of request is deemed to have been made with the permission or clearance from the highest authority having jurisdiction over the government office or agency concerned.

Limitation of Signatories

The number of signatories in any document shall be limited to a maximum of five signatures which shall represent officers directly supervising the office or agency concerned.

Working Schedules to Serve Clients

Heads of offices and agencies which render frontline services shall adopt appropriate working schedules to ensure that all clients who are within their premises prior to the end of official working hours are attended to and served even during lunch break and after regular working hours.

Identification Card

All employees transacting with the public shall be provided with an official identification card which should be visibly worn during office hours.

Public Assistance/Complaints Desk

Each office or agency shall establish a public assistance/complaints desk in all their offices.


Report Card Survey

All offices and agencies providing frontline services shall be subjected to a Report Card Survey to be initiated by the Civil Service Commission, in coordination with the Development Academy of the Philippines, which shall be used to obtain feedback on how provisions in the Citizen's Charter are being followed and how the agency is performing. The Report Card Survey shall also be used to obtain information and/or estimates of hidden costs incurred by clients to access frontline services which may include, but is not limited to, bribes and payment to fixers. A feedback mechanism shall be established in all covered agencies and the results thereof shall be incorporated in their annual report.[10]


Penalties

The law merely imposes an administrative penalty, except fixers and those who collude with fixers, with a criminal liability discussed above. Of course, violators may be charged under other applicable laws. Under the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, offenses are classified as:

Light offenses

The following are light offenses:[11]

  • Refusal to accept application and/or request within the prescribed period or any document being submitted by a client.
  • Failure to act on an application and/or request or failure to refer back to the client a request which cannot be acted upon due to lack of requirement/s within the prescribed period.
  • Failure to attend to clients who are within the premises of the office or agency concerned prior to the end of official working hours and during

lunch.

  • Failure to render frontline services within the prescribed period on any application and/or request without due cause.
  • Failure to give the client a written notice on the disapproval of an application or request.
  • Imposition of additional irrelevant requirements other than those listed in the first notice. An irrevelant requirement refers to any document or performance of an act not directly material to the resolution of the issues raised in the request or needed in the application submitted by the client.[12]

Penalties for Light Offenses

  • First Offense – Thirty (30) days suspension without pay and mandatory attendance in Values Orientation Program
  • Second Offense – Three (3) months suspension without pay
  • Third Offense – Dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service

Grave offense

There is only one grave offense, that of fixing and/or collusion with fixers, punishable with a penalty of dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service. The corresponding criminal penalty is discussed above.[13]

Other liabilities

The finding of administrative liability does not bar the filing of criminal, civil or other related charges under existing laws arising from the same acts or omissions.[14]

Accountability of heads of offices or agencies

They shall be held accountable to the public in rendering fast, efficient, convenient and reliable service in their respective offices or agencies.[15]

Administrative jurisdiction

The administrative jurisdiction on any violation of the provisions of the law shall be vested in either the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) or the Office of the Ombudsman as determined by appropriate laws and issuances.[16]

Discharge of a co-respondent or co-accused

The law provides for immunity in favor of the public official or public employee or any person having been charged with another under R.A. 9485 and who voluntarily gives information pertaining to an investigation or who willingly testifies. The exemption applies in the case/s where his/her information and testimony are given. The discharge may be granted and directed by the investigating body or court upon the application or petition of any of the respondent/accused-informant and before the termination of the investigation, provided that all the following are present:[17]

  • There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the respondent/accused-informant whose discharge is requested.
  • There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of said respondent/accused-informant.
  • The testimony of said respondent/accused-informant can be substantially corroborated in its material points.
  • The respondent/accused-informant has not been previously convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude; and
  • Said respondent/accused-informant does not appear to be the most guilty.

Evidence adduced in support of the discharge shall automatically form part of the records of the investigation. Should the investigating body or court deny the motion or request for discharge as a witness, his/her sworn statement shall be inadmissible as evidence.[18]


See also


External Links


References

  1. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 3
  2. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 3
  3. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 4 (e)
  4. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 4 (d)
  5. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 6
  6. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 9
  7. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 9
  8. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 4 (c)
  9. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 8
  10. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 10
  11. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 11 (a)
  12. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 4 (f)
  13. Republic Act No. 9485, Secs. 11 and 12
  14. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 13
  15. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 7
  16. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 14
  17. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 15
  18. Republic Act No. 9485, Sec. 15
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