REPUBLIC ACT NO. 1379

 

 

AN ACT DECLARING FORFEITURE IN FAVOR OF THE STATE ANY PROPERTY FOUND TO HAVE BEEN UNLAWFULLY ACQUIRED BY ANY PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AND PROVIDING FOR THE PROCEEDINGS THEREFOR.

 
 
Section 1. Definitions. - 

 

(a)  For the purposes of this Act, a “public officer or employee” means any person holding any public office or employment by virtue of an appointment, election or contract, and any person holding any office or employment, by appointment or contract, in any State owned or controlled corporation or enterprise.

 

(b) “Other legitimately acquired property” means any real or personal property, money or securities which the respondent has at any time acquired by inheritance and the income thereof, or by gift inter vivos before his becoming a public officer or employee, or any property (or income thereof) already pertaining to him when he qualified for public office or employment, or the fruits and income of the exclusive property of the respondent’s spouse. It shall not include:

 

[1] Property unlawfully acquired by the respondent, but its ownership is concealed by its being recorded in the name of, or held by, the respondent’s spouse, ascendants, descendants, relatives, or any other person.

 

[2]  Property unlawfully acquired by the respondent, but transferred by him to another person or persons on or after the effectivity of this Act.

 

[3]  Property donated to the respondent during his incumbency, unless he can prove to the satisfaction of the court that the donation is lawful.

 

Sec. 2. Filing of petition. - Whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired. The Solicitor General, upon complaint by any taxpayer to the City or provincial fiscal who shall conduct a previous inquiry similar to preliminary investigations in criminal cases and shall certify to the Solicitor General that there is reasonable ground to believe that there has been committed a violation of this Act and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, shall file, in the name and on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, in the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of the City or province where said public officer or employee reside or holds office, a petition for a writ commanding said officer or employee to show cause why the property aforesaid, or any part thereof, should not be declared property of the State: Provided, That no such petition shall be filed within one year before any general election or within three months before any special election.

The resignation, dismissal or separation of the officer or employee from his office or employment in the Government or in the Government-owned or controlled corporation shall not be a bar to the filing of the petition: Provided, however, That the right to file such petition shall prescribe after four years from the date of the resignation, dismissal or separation or expiration of the term of the officer or employee concerned, except as to those who have ceased to hold office within ten years prior to the approval of this Act, in which case the proceedings shall prescribed after four years from the approval hereof.

Sec. 3. The Petition. - The petition shall contain the following information:

(a)  The name and address of the respondent;

(b)  The public office or employment he holds and such other public offices or employment which he has previously held;

(c)  The approximate amount of property he has acquired during his incumbency in his past and present offices and employments;

(d)  A description of said property, or such thereof as has been identified by the Solicitor General;

(e) The total amount of his government salary and other proper earnings and incomes from legitimately acquired property; and

(f)  Such other information as may enable the court to determine whether or not the respondent has unlawfully acquired property during his incumbency.

Sec. 4. Period for the answer. - The respondent shall have a period of fifteen days within which to present his answer.

Sec. 5. Hearing. - The court shall set a date for a hearing, which may be open to the public, and during which the respondent shall be given ample opportunity to explain, to the satisfaction of the court, how he has acquired the property in question.
 
Sec. 6. Judgment. - If the respondent is unable to show to the satisfaction of the court that he has lawfully acquired the property in question, then the court shall declare such property, forfeited in favor of the State, and by virtue of such judgment the property aforesaid shall become property of the State: Provided, That no judgment shall be rendered within six months before any general election or within three months before any special election. The Court may, in addition, refer this case to the corresponding Executive Department for administrative or criminal action, or both.

Sec. 7. Appeal. - The parties may appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) as provided in the Rules of Court for appeals in civil cases.

Sec. 8. Protection against self-discrimination. - Neither the respondent nor nay other person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, papers, correspondence, memoranda and other records on the ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to prosecution criminally for or on account of any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and conviction for perjury or false testimony committed in so testifying or from administrative proceedings.

Sec. 9. Immunity. - The Solicitor General may grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any person who testifies to the unlawful manner in which the respondent has acquired any of the property in question in cases where such testimony is necessary to prove violations of this Act.

Sec. 10. Effect of record of title. - The fact that any real property has been recorded in the Registry of Property or office of the Registrar of Deeds in the name of the respondent or of any person mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b) of section one hereof shall not prevent the rendering of the judgment referred to in section six of this Act.

Sec. 11. Laws on prescription. - The laws concerning acquisitive prescription and limitation of actions cannot be invoked by, nor shall they benefit the respondent, in respect of any property unlawfully acquired by him.

Sec. 12. Penalties. - Any public officer or employee who shall, after the effective date of this Act, transfer or convey any unlawfully acquired property shall be repressed with imprisonment for a term exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding ten thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine. The same repression shall be imposed upon any person who shall knowingly accept such transfer or conveyance.

Sec. 13. Separability of provisions. - If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Sec. 14. Effective date. - This Act shall take effect on its approval, and shall apply not only to property thereafter unlawfully acquired but also to property unlawfully acquired before the effective date of this Act.
 

Approved: June 18, 1955

 

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