President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the inter-agency task force led by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to investigate corruption in the entire government.
Duterte gave the order in a taped address aired on Tuesday.
The President authorized the Department of Justice to decide which allegation to investigate, taking into consideration its gravity and impact on the delivery of government service.
The DOJ may create as many panels as necessary and invite or direct other government bodies to assist in the investigation.
“The DOJ shall prosecute and file the appropriate charges against those involved in the anomalies,” he said.
The order will be effective until June 30, 2022 when Duterte steps down from office unless sooner lifted or revoked.
Sought for comment, Guevarra considered the directive as the toughest task he has received from the President.
“Apart from my usual responsibilities as SOJ, this new assignment is the toughest I have ever received from the President,” he said in a message to reporters.
“I will need all the support and cooperation of the entire govt machinery to achieve this singular objective of substantially reducing corruption in government,” he added.
Earlier during his address, Duterte said he has ordered the task force to investigate the alleged corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“It behooves upon me to see to it na itong corruption mahinto or at least maputol nang konti,” said Duterte, who formed an inter-agency body in August to probe the corruption allegations in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Early this month, the panel, through the National Bureau of Investigation, filed graft and malversation charges against former PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales and other officials over the alleged anomalies in the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism.
In the same address, Duterte, who was in Davao City, told erring government officials that resignation will not save them from criminal or administrative liability, taking note of the developments at PhilHealth where more than 40 senior officials had left their posts to give way for a reorganization of the scandal-plague agency.
“Let me remind everybody in this government. Your resignation will not save your neck,” he said. “You are not allowed to resign to escape liability.” —KBK/RSJ, GMA News