President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-corruption unit has cleared Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol of corruption charges, the agency said.
In a statement, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairperson Dante Jimenez said the body “found no evidence pointing to unexplained wealth” following a seven-month lifestyle check on Piñol, who had been accused of making money from rice importation deals.
The lifestyle check was conducted with the help of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Office, Land Registration Authority and the Philippine National Police, Civil Security Group, Firearms and Explosives Office and other concerned agencies.
The PACC commended Piñol for taking the initiative to submit himself to a lifestyle check.
“The PACC hopes that this will be the new culture in government service where instead of clamping up and issuing denials in the face of insinuations of corruption, public officials should open up to thorough scrutiny,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez added the PACC will submit its findings to the President, including copies of all documents gathered during the investigation.
Piñol welcomed the PACC decision.
“Today, I feel relieved. In fact, I am overjoyed and overwhelmed by the heartwarming statement issued by the PACC citing my action as proof that President Duterte has people around him who believe in his advocacy for upright and transparent governance,” the Cabinet official said on Facebook on Wednesday.
The Agriculture chief said he may not be a perfect government worker but “nobody could question my dedication to my job and my work ethics.”
“If there is anything I treasure most, it is an untarnished name because that name will be carried on by my children and grandchildren,” he said.
Piñol’s wealth grew from P26.97 million in 2017 to P28.53 million in 2018, according to his latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). -- RSJ, GMA News