The Palace on Tuesday, October 27, reiterated the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to create a mega task force that is tasked to investigate corruption in all government offices, starting with the Department of Public Works and Highways.
In his regular press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr underscored the President’s strong stand on corruption. “Nangako ang Presidente na ang huling dalawang taon ng kanyang panunungkulan ay nakatutok sa paglaban sa korapsyon,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official said that the mega task force, which will be in effect until June 30, 2022, is tasked to investigate corruption in each government departments and file charges against officials involved. The President directed Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra through a memorandum to investigate allegations of corruptions in all government offices.
“Ito po ay isang mega task force. Ito po ay patterned after doon sa Task Force na binuo para sa PhilHealth at inaasahan na mag-iimbita rin po si Secretary Meynard Guevara ng iba pang mga tauhan sa iba’t-ibang departamento ng gobyerno gaya po ng NBI, ng Office of the Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission, at COA para tumulong po dito sa mega task force,” explained Sec. Roque.
Under the memorandum, the DOJ will have “the authority to decide which allegations to investigate, taking into consideration the gravity thereof and their impact on the delivery of government services. It may create as many panels as it deems necessary and adequate, and may invite or direct other bodies and agencies of the government to assist or be part of such panel.”
The DOJ will also have the authority and power to prosecute and file appropriate charges against those who will be found involved in anomalies investigated.
During the President’s Talk-to-the-People Address that was aired on October 27, the Chief Executive warned PhilHealth officials who have resigned that their resignation will not excuse them from answering to their liabilities. “Wika ng Presidente, resignation will not save your neck,” stressed Roque.
The Palace official added that this recent development to create a mega task force just means that the President, by his personal standards, is not satisfied with the way corruption in the government is addressed. “Ito po ay kumbaga leaving a legacy, at ang legacy niya talaga eh patunayan na kung talagang tututukan at gagamitin ang political will eh talaga naman pong mababawasan ang kurapsyon,” Roque said.
On the issue that there might be an overlapping function among the Ombudsman and other government agencies like the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the newly-created mega task force, Roque said that the more government offices/officials focused on eliminating corruption, the better, “Itong mega task force po iimbitahin po ang PACC, ang mga constitutional bodies kung gusto nilang sumapi gaya ng kanilang partisipasyon doon sa task force Philhealth. So wala naman po yang magiging overlap.”
On another matter, Food and Drug Administration Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo explained the need for a cold chain storage facility for the COVID-19 vaccines. Usec. Domingo said that vaccines are very sensitive and need very specific temperature settings, and that a break in the cold chain might lose the efficacy of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Adeel Dhedhi Bhyria of SAHAR Pharma reminded the government to procure the needed equipment before supplies run short and prices go up. ### OPS-PCOO