Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Arroyo and Duque liable for not reporting Pfizer bribe offer?

Is Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo liable for not reporting the alleged bribery attempt made by Pfizer Philippines? Attempted bribery is punishable by prison major or about six years imprisonment. BY not reporting the alleged bribe, are Mrs. Arroyo, Francisco Duque and Peter Favila liable for a crime, since they failed to immediately report the incident to the authorities after it reportedly happened last July 8? That is what some lawyers think.

The offer was, by the way, NOT an indirect bribery since there was a concrete offer by Pfizer Philippines to deter the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Law by proposing an alternative way of enforcing it, thru its Sulit Card Patient Care program, according to Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile.

Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines penalizes an attempted bribery. While Republic Act 6713 and RA 3019 are specific as to the conduct of public officers in relation to acts considered as bribery.

Now, the palace is trying to delude the public by re-defining the act of Pfizer. They are doing what we in the business calls "re-imagination" by proposing a new set of definitions. The act, however, satisfies the requisites of the law on bribery. It is NOT enough that the government thru Department of Health secretary Francisco Duque Jr. rejected the offer. The very fact that the offer was made already constituted a perfected crime of attempted bribery.

Duque may be held liable for this since he did not report the matter immediately to prosecutors or fiscals. If that July 8 meeting happened in Manila, Duque should have reported the alleged attempted bribery to the fiscal in Manila for proper disposition. Otherwise, Duque is probably liable for the crime of misfeasance for his inability to report what Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile considers a crime.

Oh, by the way, others including Trade secretary Peter Favila and Congressman Benny Abante are also liable since they did not report the alleged incident immediately after the commission of the reported bribery attempt by Pfizer, according to some lawyers.

With this, there's another reason to file an impeachment case against Mrs. Arroyo? Or, we just wait for Mrs. Arroyo to finish her term and file a case against her?