Blog Lecture No. 47: Infidelity in the Custody of Documents
What does the Revised Penal Code Provide as regards destruction of documents?
ART. 226. Removal, concealment or destruction of documents. - Any public officer who shall remove, destroy or conceal documents or papers officially entrusted to him, shall suffer:
1. The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos, whenever serious damage shall have been caused thereby to a third party or to the public interest.
2. The penalty of prision correccional I its minimum and maximum period and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos, whenever the damage to a third party or to the public interest shall not have been serious.
In either case, the additional penalty of temporary special disqualification in its maximum period to perpetual special disqualification shall be imposed.
Can you give an example?
Sure. Just click here. Once the guy officially receives it, it technically becomes an official document which one cannot just rip to shreds.
Aside from this law, what other laws does a public officer have to follow regarding public documents?
Under Republic Act No. 6713 (known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees):
Sec. 5. Duties of public Officials and Employees. - In the performance of their duties, all public officials and employees are under obligation to:
(a) Act promptly on letters and requests. - All public officials and employees shall, within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request.
(b) Submit annual performance reports. - All heads or other responsible officers of offices and agencies of the government and of government-owned or controlled corporations shall, within forty-five (45) working days from the end of the year, render a performance report of the agency or office or corporation concerned. Such report shall be open and available to the public within regular office hours.
(c) Process documents and papers expeditiously. - All official papers and documents must be processed and completed within a reasonable time from the preparation thereof and must contain, as far as practicable, not more than three (3) signatories therein. In the absence of duly authorized signatories, the official next-in-rank or officer-in-charge shall sign for and in their behalf.
(d) Act immediately on the public’s personal transactions. - All public officials and employees must attend to anyone who wants to avail himself of the services of their offices and must, at all times, act promptly and expeditiously.
(e) Make documents accessible to the public. - All public documents must be made accessible to, and readily available for inspection by, the public within reasonable working hours.
What are the penalties for violation of this provision?
It is a fine not exceeding 6 months salary, suspension up to one year or removal, depending on the gravity of the offense, without prejudice to criminal liability as seen above.
What is the moral of this lecture?
A public official serves the people and not a particular president in power. And never give the people that pay your salary the shabby treatment.