Sen. Pacquiao wants to penalize 'epal' politicians to stay out of government signages

Neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao wants Congress to pass a measure against “self-promoting or credit-grabbing” public officials, commonly associated to as “epal”. Politicians using government projects to promote themselves with imprisonment and a fine of up to P1 million

In Senate Bill No. 1535 or the Anti-Epal Law filed on August 1, Pacquiao sought to prohibit incumbent government officials from claiming credit for public works projects through signages.

“Although these government projects are facilitated by their office, the fact remains that these are funded by tax levied from the Filipino people. In colloquial terms, these public officials are referred to as ‘epal’ or credit-grabbers and attention-seekers,” Pacquiao said.

“This unethical practice has led the public to believe that the projects named before the incumbent government officials are indeed sponsored by them, thus tolerating said officials to prematurely campaign for reelection and cultivate a culture of political patronage,” he added.

At the same time, Pacquiao said the bill seeks to “uphold the honesty, integrity, and transparency to foster good governance in public service.”

The bill also mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways, in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Metro Manila Development Authority, to remove all existing signage announcing a proposed, ongoing, or existing public works project within three months after the effectivity of the proposal.

The penalty of one-year imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P1 million shall be imposed upon any person who violates the proposal. On his or her second violation, the offender will also be subjected to absolute perpetual disqualification to hold office.

Similar proposals banning government projects to be named after public officials have also been filed by Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and JV Ejercito. Both proposals are still pending with the Senate committee on public works.

Pacquiao’s bill proposes a fine of up to P1 million and one year imprisonment for any person who would violate the provisions of the measure.


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