9,057

Always accountable

  • Written by Peoples Journal
  • Published in Newsdesk
  • Read: 243

A clear, dividing line separates the two classes of workers.

One class has public accountability while the other has none.

Therefore, the first must carry a greater burden of responsibility for its action to the
people.
    
That’s why they are subject to higher standards of public conduct.
    
For instance, certain personal liberties must yield to the demands of civility or decorum in
the way they express  themselves.
    
And so we agree with and support a lady lawmakers’ call for sanctions against government
employees or officials who go overboard in their public engagements.
    
To begin with, there exists a clear and valid distinction between private individuals and
public officials and employees.
    
The equal protection clause does not prohibit classification. What it demands is for
everyone in the same class (e.g. government employees and officials) to be held to the same
standard.
    
Employees and officials of the government is a sector or group that is recognized
specifically. To this end, laws for government employees are introduced and passed, e.g. Salary
Standardization Law, Code of Ethical Standards for Government Employees, and others.
    
Further, we can hold government employees and officials to a higher standard. Public office
is a public trust. It has always been the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics
in public service. We, as public officials and employees, are required to be at all times
accountable to the people and we are expected to discharge our duties with utmost responsibility and
integrity, and we should uphold public interest over personal interest.
    
For instance are private individuals required to file their SALNs? Are private individuals
susceptible to administrative cases on their own? The answer is no.
    
Let's go to the law in question, RA 6713. This is the law we seek to amend. The title
itself, "Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees," is a law about government officials.
Can you put a provision there that penalizes a private individual? Of course not, because it only
applies to public officials and employees.
    
Amending R.A. 6713 would ensure that public officials are liable for the act of publishing
false information.
    
With the bill, we are determined to make sure that we keep our sworn responsibilities
abreast with the digital age.
    
Indeed, a person’s work---either in government or the private sector---defines the limits of
his or her personal conduct.