Lawmaker seeks P100,000 reward for tipster

A PERSON who witnessed a crime and immediately reported it to the police authorities will receive a P100,000 reward under a proposed bill  pending in congress.

House Bill 4234, authored by Rep. Mark Villar (Lone District, Las Piñas City), is aimed to urge the citizenry to take an active role in the fight against criminality. The proposed bill provides that a tipster can use his or her cellular phones, digital cameras and other portable or recording devices to take footages or photos of a crime being committed.

Villar cited the recent mauling incident involving an executive of a multi-national company and a traffic enforcer of the Metro Manila Development Authority MMDA).  An employee of a TV station caught the incident through her cellular phone, which she later uploaded in YouTube. The employee also volunteered to act as witness in the incident.

“The use of modern technology could be an efficient and convenient tool to provide confidential information to law enforcement agencies. Moreover, there is a need to give informants a tangible recognition of their heroic deed,” Villar said, as he urged the House Committee on Justice to endorse his bill for plenary approval.

“More often than not, citizens who witness crimes choose to remain silent for fear of reprisal and because of anticipation of hardships in their personal lives as an effect of any disclosure to the authorities,” Villar said.

Villar said there is a need to institutionalize a system, which will encourage the citizenry to efficiently provide information relating to
crimes without the need to divulge their identity and with the assurance from government that the information and their identity will
be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Villar said the mere altruistic feeling for the society might not be enough to compensate for the sudden and drastic change in their lives
if they choose to stand as witness against criminals.

The bill seeks to create a Tipster Reward Center (TRC) under the office of the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which shall have the appropriate and sufficient telecommunications equipment and personnel to perform its mandated functions and responsibilities.

The DOJ-TRC shall, among others:  supervise, monitor and coordinate all efforts to implementation and enforce the provisions of the Act; investigate all disclosures made under this Act and prosecute the same when warranted; evaluate the Tipster for coverage within this Act, and make the appropriate decision on their entitlement to the financial reward extended.

The bill states “no person to whom a disclosure has been made or referred shall divulge any information that may identify or tend to identify a Tipster or reveal the subject matter of such disclosure, except only as when he consents in writing prior to a disclosure of

The tipster shall be entitled to a financial reward of P100,000. On the other hand, any person who violates the protection of confidentiality of a protected disclosure under the proposed act shall suffer the penalty of not less than two years but not more than six
years imprisonment with an accessory penalty of temporary absolute disqualification from public office in the case of a public officer or employee.

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