MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has expressed full support behind the government’s drive to stamp out graft and corruption across various government agencies.
In a news release issued on Sunday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said he had ordered all the heads of agencies and other DOTr officials to submit their individual Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to the Department of Justice-led task force in line with the DOTr’s cooperation in the anti-graft probe.
The order includes officials’ chief-of-staff, secretaries, executive assistants, and those involved in project management and procurement.
Tugade said he has already assigned a group and a point person who will gather and review the SALNs of all past and present DOTr officials, including his.
“Sabi ko ikumpara ‘yun at ipakita at sabihin sa akin kung meron silang nakikitang dapat bigyang pansin (I told them to compare the SALNs and show and tell if they see anything that must be looked into),” Tugade earlier said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay online forum.
Last month, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the DOJ to lead a “mega” task force that will conduct an investigation into graft across all government agencies.
Duterte said the authority to investigate by the DOJ-led task force will be in effect until the end of his term on June 30, 2022.
Tugade said he directed the comparison of submission for three periods of the SALN or for three years to find out if there is substantial difference.
“Makikiisa kami d’yan sa mega task force. Nag-meeting na kami [at susundin namin ang] requirement ng PACC para sa ganon, maipakita na kaisa kami dun sa pagwalis at pag-address ng corruption sa gobyerno (We will support the mega task force. We already had a meeting and agreed to comply with the requirement asked for by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission so we can show that we are cooperating with the government in addressing and eradicating corruption),” he said.
Meanwhile, Tugade said he is glad that the DOTr was not included in the five agencies that Duterte had identified as among the most problematic agencies in the country.
Since 2016, Tugade has been implementing strict anti-corruption policies and measures.
He has directed the Central Office and all agencies under it to livestream the bidding process for transparency and prohibited meetings with contractors during the conduct of the bidding process to prevent bribery and undue influence. He has further ordered the publication of bidding processes conducted.
He has also ordered the strict adherence to the “No Gift Policy” he instituted since Day 1 of his administration, only allowing electronic greetings for occasions since physical greeting cards may be used to insert money for bribes.
More importantly, Tugade has been uncompromising in implementing the “One-Strike” Policy on corruption. In fact, since his tenure started until 2019, 20 personnel have been relieved, 17 have been suspended, and 128 have been dismissed from the service for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
He said those dismissed and suspended include not only rank-and-file employees but even middle managers or chiefs, and top brass in the Central Office and agencies, with cases ranging from fixing activities, involvement in payola, to receiving fees, gifts or other valuable items in the course of official duties.
This year, five dismissed employees belong to the division chief and director levels while, in November alone, four employees have been preventively suspended due to an ongoing case on grave misconduct, and a job order was immediately terminated. These cases have been reported to the President. (PNA)