Defensor tells PACC’s Belgica: File cases or shut up
MANILA, Philippines — The head of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) should file cases against lawmakers who are being linked to corruption activities in projects of the Department of Public Works Highways (DPWH) if he has evidence or might as well just shut up.
This was the message of Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor to PACC chief Greco Belgica, who earlier said that less than 12 congressmen are included in the PACC’s list of government officials allegedly involved in corruption within DPWH.
The list, Belgica added, has already been submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“To my recollection, this is the second time in recent months that he has made this allegation, although he refuses to name names, saying he does not have solid evidence to file cases,” Defensor said in a statement.
“If that is so, then he should just shut up. If he has evidence that can stand in court, he should file cases against the lawmakers he claims are involved in corruption,” he added.
Defensor said it is unfair to all congressmen and the House of Representatives as an institution for Belgica to allege that some lawmakers are engaged in corrupt activities but would refuse to name them and file charges.
“If he cannot support what he is saying, then what is his purpose? To taint all House members and their institution and put them under a cloud of suspicion? We have been trying to improve the image of the House and he is tarnishing it.”
Defensor pointed out that Belgica’s job “is not to engage in trial by publicity but to gather evidence and build cases against corrupt officials and file them before the proper forum like the Department of Justice (DOJ) or Office of the Ombudsman.”
He then suggested that Belgica instead turn over whatever formal complaints he has in his possession to the DOJ or the Ombudsman, where preliminary investigations are mostly kept secret until charges are filed.
For the sake of fairness, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said PACC should name the legislators allegedly linked to corruption, and evidence should be presented.
“Insinuations have no place in a democratic society. If indeed the PACC has the smoking gun then they have to make it known. Insinuations without naming names and providing evidence would merely cast doubt on the integrity of Congress in the sphere of public opinion,” he said in a separate statement.
“This is not healthy for congress as an institution. Mahirap ‘pag puro chismis lang (It’s difficult if it’s pure gossip). The PACC should walk the talk,” Garbin added.
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