MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday member agencies forming part of the task force designated by President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate corruption are not exempt from an investigation of misdeeds by their officials and employees.
“The member agencies of the task force against corruption are included in the scope of the investigation and will be subjected to the same, if not stricter, standards and procedures as those adopted or to be adopted by the task force for the investigation of other government agencies,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
He added that they are “aware that the credibility of the task force hinges to a great extent on the ability of the member agencies to clean their own respective backyards.”
Guevarra said the task force’s member agencies have agreed to give top priority to the anti-corruption crusade until the end of the President’s term, noting that they have already received about 10 complaints against agencies initially on the priority list.
“Around 10 (have already been received) but we still need to sort them out. We’ll sort them out and identify the agencies concerned,” he said of complaints involving agencies other than the five initially mentioned.
The task force earlier said it has set parameters to determine which allegations would be considered.
A minimum threshold of PHP1 billion in public funds involved will be one of the parameters.
On the list are allegations of irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Land Registration Authority.
The group, headed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), is composed of the National Bureau of Investigation, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Special Assistant to the President, National Prosecution Service, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
The task force shall also invite the Commission on Audit, the Civil Service Commission, and the Office of the Ombudsman to work with the task force, with due consideration of their independence as constitutional bodies. (PNA)