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CORRUPTION CASES

Palace on probe of 3 Cabinet men: President to await findings

Malacañang on Monday said it would await the results of the investigation of three Cabinet members by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

“Whatever the recommendations are and if there is evidence, then the President will act on that,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a news briefing.

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Panelo was reacting to a PACC official’s announcement that the body was investigating Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Isidro Lapeña and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chair Leonor Oralde-Quintayo for alleged corruption.

No sacred cows

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Asked if the Palace was concerned about this development, Panelo said that President Duterte’s policy was “there are no sacred cows in this administration.”

“You violate the law, regardless of your status—whether you’re a friend or ally or a political adversary or a relative or a friend or a fraternity brother—that is nothing. You violate the law, you’re accountable,” he said.

Asked whether the three officials would stay at their posts pending the outcome of the investigation, Panelo said yes.

Although the President had been quoted as saying that he would not tolerate even a “whiff of corruption” in the government, Panelo said the phrase was in reference to cases with “substantial grounds” in which Mr. Duterte would immediately call for an investigation.

“It doesn’t mean that if one is accused of being a thief, you will already be removed,” he said.

“The President is not like that. He is a lawyer, remember. Always don’t forget that,” he added.

Central Luzon projects

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PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna clarified that the allegations against Quintayo concerned projects at the Clark and Mount Pinatubo areas, where she was accused of favoring illegitimate groups at the expense of the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral domain.

Sought for comment, Quintayo’s executive assistant Erwin Caliba said the office had not received any communication from the PACC and was not aware of the allegations covered by the investigation.

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TAGS: corruption cases, Isidro Lapeña, Leonor Oralde-Quintayo, PACC, Salvador Panelo, Silvestre Bello III
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