Task force to probe, prosecute corruption offenders

National, News

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra  said President Duterte’s orders for his agency to go after corruption perpetrators in government imply to defined goals – to prosecute offenders and prevent corruption in the bureaucracy.

Guevarra clarified to media that the DOJ findings on its graft investigations are not merely recommendatory but also allow them to initiate criminal charges.

Aside from prosecuting offenders, DOJ’s “other objective is preventive in nature; install anti-corruption mechanisms in government agencies, educate the citizenry on the evils of corruption, promote values of integrity and civic-mindedness, and the like.”

Guevarra on Tuesday called for the entire bureaucracy’s support to his office that would take the lead in the Duterte administration’s anti-corruption crackdown.

In a meeting with senior DOJ officials, it was agreed that  the core group constituted for the task force to investigate allegations of corruption in PhilHealth would be the same  group to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire government.

The core group, headed by the DOJ, is composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), National Prosecution Service (NPS), and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The task force shall also invite the Commission on Audit (COA), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and the Office of the Ombudsman to work together with the Task Force, with due consideration for their independence as constitutional bodies.

In a recorded public address, Duterte said the DOJ may also prosecute and file appropriate charges against those involved in anomalies investigated whether government or private, as may be warranted by evidence gathered.

The President’s directive will be in effect until June 30, 2022, unless sooner lifted or revoked.

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