MANILA – If Senator Manny Pacquiao has sufficient evidence against the government offices he accused of widespread corruption, he has other options aside from pursing an inquiry.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said there are agencies who can look into his allegations.
“I’m sure Senator Pacquiao knows his options. If he has sufficient evidence on hand, he may cause the filing of anti-graft charges directly with the Office of the Ombudsman or the DOJ,” Guevarra told reporters on Monday, referring to the Task Force Against Corruption (TFAC) under the DOJ.
Hours after his virtual press briefing on Saturday, Pacquiao left for Los Angeles where he will train for this August 22 fight (August 21, US time) in Las Vegas against Errol Spence Jr.
He will miss at least one month of his Senate duties as Congress will open on July 26.
Depending on his post-fight condition, the 42-year-old eight-division world champion usually returns less than a week after a bout.
Guevarra said that as with all complaints filed before an agency, if Pacquiao “thinks that further investigation is necessary, he may refer the matter to the PACC (Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission) if presidential appointees are involved or to the TFAC for all others”.
Guevarra earlier said that while the DOJ is handling cases arising from the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine case and accusations of financial mismanagement in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, there is no pending case against the Department of Health.
Most TFAC complaints are against local government units and district engineering offices of the Department of Public Ways and Highways, which Pacquiao did not mention in his media conference.
Guevarra assured all complaints before the TFAC are investigated thoroughly.
“(T)o the extent possible, the TFAC disregards the possible motives of complainants. We make a thorough evaluation, based on the allegations in the complaint, whether there is enough factual basis to proceed further, or require the complainant to provide more information on which to build a case,” Guevarra said.
The TFAC, in its midyear report to President Rodrigo Duterte in June, said it received 220 complaints, with all but 10 already acted upon.
Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, said in a statement on Sunday that he was already informed of a proposal to investigate corruption allegations in the Departments of Health, Social Welfare and Development, Environment and Natural Resources, and Energy.
However, he said it is strange that after “the accuser has made an accusation, he opts not to be present when the investigation is supposed to be conducted”. (PNA)