President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire bureaucracy as he vowed to go after corrupt officials in the last two years of his term.
The President announced his new directive during his address to the nation on COVID-19 response on Tuesday morning.
Reading a memo for Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, President Duterte said, “In pursuit of this directive, the DOJ shall have the authority to decide which allegation to investigate taking into consideration the gravity thereof and their impact on the delivery of government service.”
“It may create as many panels as it deems necessary to adequate and may invite or direct other bodies and agencies of the government to assist or be a part of such panel.
“The DOJ shall prosecute and file the appropriate charges against all those involved in the anomalies investigated, whether against government or private person as may be warranted by the evidence gathered subject to applicable laws and rules.”
The directive will remain in effect until June 30, 2022, or until the President steps down from power.
Highlighting the role of the Office of the Ombudsman in the government’s anti-corruption fight, President Duterte said cases involving large sums of money will be referred directly to the anti-graft body.
“Ang presidency can investigate, can — well, send you to prison kaya nga kung ang prosecution nito is the Ombudsman ultimately. But pagka akyat kasi nito doon, may recommendation na. And if the Ombudsman will say that it’s a well-studied complaint then obviously you are going to jail,” he said.
As the DOJ conducts its probe, the President advised the department to particularly focus on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as well as the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Reiterating his resolve to combat corruption, the President mentioned anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), noting, however, that he will not abolish the state-run corporation because it will be difficult to create a new one.
A number of PhilHealth officials has resigned, President Duterte said, reminding them that “your resignation will not save your neck”.
“Kasi nakita ko sa PhilHealth puro resignation dito, resignation doon. Sinasabi ko, well, maganda man ‘yan para makatulog ka siguro. Hindi ka na mag-report ng opisina,” he said.
“But if you think that it will save you from criminal prosecution or administrative because you are still considered an employee, that resignation will not help you at all.” PND