This is a reminder to all heads of government agencies/offices regarding the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives and uphold public interest over personal interest (Sec.2, Republic Act No. 6713 [Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees]).
Section 4 of R.A. No. 6713 emphasized the eight (8) norms of conduct of public officials and employees and this include commitment to public interest which is manifested as follows:
(a) Commitment to public interest. – Public officials and employees shall always uphold the public interest over and above personal interest. All government resources and powers of their respective offices must be employed and used efficiently, effectively, honestly and economically, particularly to avoid wastage in public funds and revenues.
A public official or employee must uphold public interest over personal interest. Hence, a public official or employee is prohibited to engage in the private practice of profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their official functions (Section 7 (b)2, Republic Act No. 6713).
This prohibition against engaging directly or indirectly in the private practice of profession or in any private business is also emphasized in Sec. 136, Rule xii of the 2017 Omnibus Rules on Appointment and Other Human Resource Actions (2017 ORAOHRA), viz..
“Sec. 136. No officer or employee, whether in a permanent or regular capacity, temporary, casual, or hold-over, shall engage directly or indirectly in any private business or practice of profession. Exemptions may be allowed, subject to the limitations provided under RA No. 6713 and other special laws. Provided, further that the following requirements/conditions are met:
a. Written permission from head of agency must be secured and renewed annually:
b. Time devoted outside of office hours shall not impair in any wav the efficiency of the officer or employee nor pose a conflict or tend to conflict with the official functions and must be fixed bv the head of aoencv: and
c. Government facilities, equipment and supplies shall not be used while engaged in private business or practice of profession.”
(emphasis and underlining supplied)
Hence, the official or employee must submit a written permission to their respective head of agency for them to engage in any private business or practice of profession. The grant of the authority by the head of agency for the officer or employee to engage in any private business or practice of profession must contain the above-mentioned conditions in Sec. 136 (b and c), supra.
Section 50, Rule 10 of the 2017 Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (2017 RACCS) proscribes such act of engaging in any private business or practice of profession without the permission from their head of agency. The penalty of the said act includes:
“Sec. 50. Classification of Offenses. Xxx
B. The following grave offenses shall be punishable by suspension of six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year for the first offense and dismissal from the service for the second offense:
12. Owning, controlling, managing or accepting employment as officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker, agent, trustee, or nominee in any private enterprise regulated, supervised, or licensed by one’s office, unless expressly allowed by law;
F. The following light offenses are punishable by reprimand for the first offense; suspension of one (1) to thirty (30) days for the second offense; and dismissal from the service for the third offense:
15. Engaging in private practice of one’s profession unless authorized bv the Constitution, law or regulation or the head of the office where the employee or official is assigned, and provided that such practice will not conflict with one’s official functions.
16. Pursuit of private business, vocation or profession without the permission reouired bv Civil Service rules and regulations. ”
(emphasis and underlining supplied)
To ensure the compliance with the above-mentioned law and rules, head of agencies are encouraged to remind its own employees and also to revisit its internal guidelines in granting the authority to engage in any private business or practice of profession.