Duterte boosts an­ticor­rup­tion body

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PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte has signed Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der (EO) 73, which boosts the role of a pres­i­den­tial anti-cor­rup­tion body in the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion’s crack­down on cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment.

EO 73, signed by Duterte on De­cem­ber 28, 2018, now al­lows the Pres­i­den­tial Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (PACC) to rec­om­mend to Duterte the fil­ing of ap­pro­pri­ate crim­i­nal com­plaints against erring gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials be­fore the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man or the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ).

The PACC has also been given the au­thor­ity to re­fer crim­i­nal cases for ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions to the anti-graft body or the DOJ.

Cre­ated un­der EO 43 signed in 2017, the PACC is man­dated to di­rectly as­sist Duterte in in­ves­ti­gat­ing or hear­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive cases against pres­i­den­tial ap­pointees ac­cused of be­ing in­volved in cor­rup­tion.

“Pres­i­den­tial ap­pointees come un­der the di­rect dis­ci­plin­ing au­thor­ity of the Pres­i­dent and this pro­ceeds from the well-set­tled prin­ci­ple that un­less oth­er­wise pro­vided by the Con­sti­tu­tion and ex­ist­ing laws, the power to ap­pi­int car­ries with it the power to dis­ci­pline and re­move pub­lic of­fi­cials and em­ploy­ees,” EO 73 read.

The new EO gives the PACC the power to rec­om­mend to the Anti-Red Tape Au­thor­ity, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into vi­o­la­tions of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

The PACC can also per­form other func­tions or du­ties as may be des­ig­nated by the Pres­i­dent.

EO 73 em­pha­sizes that Duterte can­not be barred from con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion or hear­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive case against erring pub­lic of­fi­cials.

“Noth­ing shall pre­vent the Pres­i­dent, in the in­ter­est of the ser­vice, from di­rectly in­ves­ti­gat­ing and/or hear­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive case against any pres­i­den­tial ap­pointee or au­tho­riz­ing other of­fices un­der the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent to do the same, as well as from as­sum­ing ju­ris­dic­tion at any stage of the pro­ceed­ings over cases be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the com­mis­sion,” it said.

A copy of EO 73 was made pub­lic by Mala­cañang on Fri­day, Jan­uary 11.

The EO was re­leased days after the PACC re­vealed that La­bor Sec­re­tary Sil­vestre Bello III, Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Isidro Lapeña, and Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Indige­nous Peo­ples chair Leonor Quin­tayo are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is also be­ing con­ducted on the La­bor, Fi­nance and Pub­lic Works de­part­ments.

On Jan­uary 7, Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo as­sured the pub­lic that there are “no sa­cred cows” in the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The as­sur­ance came after the PACC be­gan its in­ves­ti­ga­tion against three Cab­i­net of­fi­cials and the three other gov­ern­ment of­fices.

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