Senators eager to see how new anti-corruption body works
One senator sees President Rodrigo Duterte’s creation of an anti-corruption commission as an irony, while another senator welcomed the new measure to fight what he called the “culture of corruption” in the government.
“It’s an irony that while the President may want a body to check on the Ombudsman, he created one that the Ombudsman needs exactly. It’s interesting to watch how this new partnership plays out,” Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said on Friday.
Last Wednesday, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 43 creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, whose mandate is to “directly assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and or corruption against all presidential appointees.”
The commission would have “power, on a complaint, or motu proprio, and concurrently with the Office of the Ombudsman to hear, investigate, receive, gather, and evaluate evidence, intelligence reports, and information in administrative cases against all presidential appointees.”
The anti-corruption commission, which will compose of a chairman and four commissioners, was formed amid Duterte’s allegations of corruption and “selective justice” against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and officials of the anti-graft agency.
The way the new presidential order is worded, Lacson pointed out that the commission will obviously have law enforcement but not prosecutorial powers “so inevitably, they will have to refer to the Office of the Ombudsman all corruption cases that they will investigate.”
“I’m not sure if it’s an irony that it is actually what the Ombudsman needs at present – a law enforcement arm that can develop cases, conduct entrapment operations, apply for search warrants and perform other related law enforcement functions,” he said.
For his part, Senator Win Gatchalian said Duterte’s move was “a good development in the fight against corruption at all fronts.”
“No agency can claim that corruption is totally nonexistent. Corruption is happening at every level, from lowest level to the highest echelons. I welcome this additional mechanism to combat the culture of corruption in our government system,” he said.
Under the order, the commission may also conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or omissions of all presidential appointees, including those outside the executive branch of government. /idl