2 Cabinet officials under probe for corruption – PACC

Marje Pelayo   •   August 14, 2019   •   1720

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 40th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on August 5, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) launched an investigation in February against two Cabinet officials of the Duterte government following complaints of corruption.

According to PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica, the two Cabinet officials are aware that they are under probe and even President Rodrigo Duterte has been informed of the ongoing investigation.

Belgica, however, refused to name the concerned Cabinet members before the press.

“Ang investigation kasi doesn’t mean they are already guilty, so it’s unfair to mention them and make it appear na they are corrupt,” he said.

The PACC official said they are about to conclude the probe afterwhich, they will submit the report to the President who will then decide on the fate of the two Cabinet officials.

Meanwhile, the PACC hopes that more Cabinet members will voluntarily submit themselves for lifestyle checking as part of the administration’s anti-corruption drive.

“That will be honorable on their part to do,” Belgica noted.

Among those who first submitted for lifestyle checking were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and newly installed Mindanao Development Authority Chief former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

Based on PACC records, about 200 staff and officials from various government offices are now being investigated due to corruption complaints.

Among them are from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO); the Bureaus of Customs and Internal Revenue; the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and the Department of Transportation (DOTr). – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

PACC chief Greco Belgica tests positive for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairperson Greco Belgica on Friday confirmed that he has contracted the dreaded novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Nakakalungkot na sa kabila ng ating pag-iingat ay tinamaan pa rin ako ng COVID-19. Tunay ngang hindi biro ang sakit na ito at talagang mapanganib,” Belgica wrote in a post on Facebook.

“Humihingi ako ng dasal para sa aking paggaling at dasal para sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” he added.

He, however, assured the public that he will continue to discharge his duties in fighting corruption.

“Gayunpaman, positibo man tayo sa sakit ay positibo pa rin nating haharapin ang mga hamon ng aking sinumpaang tungkulin na labanan ang katiwalian sa gobyerno,” he said.

Duterte on Pacquiao’s corruption allegations: ‘I think he’s punch-drunk’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night lambasted Senator Manny Pacquiao  anew for alleging that billions of pesos have been lost to corruption in government agencies.

Pacquiao earlier alleged that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) failed to properly distribute P10 billion worth of financial aid from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

“Mga kaibigan huwag kayong maniwala diyan,” Duterte said during his public address Monday night.

“Papayag ba naman ang [Commission on Audit]? Hindi lang iyan. Papayag ba kami? Papayag ba ang mga secretary ng mga departamento na ganun may mawala 10 billion? That is a statement coming from a guy who is punch-drunk, lasing,” he added.

Pacquiao claimed anomaly in the DSWD’s transaction with the digital wallet service provider Starpay Corporation.

The boxer-senator said he has evidence to prove that the program is missing P10 billion in SAP funds and that he will ask the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate.

Both DSWD and Starpay have denied the allegations.

Pacquiao’s accusations came after President Duterte challenged him to prove his claims that corruption under the Duterte government has worsened.

The Chief Executive said the senator’s corruption claims are just part of a strategy given the latter’s obvious plan to take the highest position in the upcoming 2022 elections. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

DOE refutes Pacquiao’s corruption allegations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday (July 7) refuted Senator Manny Pacquiao’s corruption allegations, saying the senator lacked research on the issue.

Pacquiao claimed that the energy department awarded the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) a contract without going through any bidding process.

“Mula sa P7,000 paid-up capital ay naging instant billion-peso company ang IEMOP sa loob lamang po ng isang taon,” according to Pacquiao.

(From a P7,000 paid-up capital, the IEMOP instantly became a billion-peso company in just one year.)

During a public briefing on Wednesday, DOE Asec. Gerardo Erguiza Jr. denied these claims and stated that the senator lacked research regarding the issue.

“Medyo ill-advised po yata dito si Sen. Pacquiao at kulang ng research no, dahil wala pong ganoon na pangyayari dito,” he said.

(Senator Pacquiao must have been ill-advised and lacked research because no such thing has happened here.)

Erguiza said that there was no need to go through any bidding process and that the IEMOP is under the mandate of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). He reiterated that the DOE is not involved in the operations of the IEMOP.

“Hindi naman involved ang DOE sa pagpapatakbo ng independent market operator. Pagdating sa operations, wala hong pakialam ang Department of Energy diyan,” he said.

(The DOE is not involved in the business of the independent market operator. The DOE has nothing to do with the operations.)

However, the DOE official said they are prepared to face any hearing and are willing to provide documents regarding any investigation on the alleged corruption.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee would need basis and evidence regarding Pacquiao’s allegations before conducting any hearing. Gordon said they have not received requests or any documents from Pacquiao.

“Investigation of corruption cases must proceed but my committee cannot investigate based merely on newspaper accounts. I have neither received any request nor has any Resolution been filed regarding Senator Manny Pacquiao’s allegations. Moreover, no documents have been shared with us,” he said in a statement.

“The Blue Ribbon must know what it will be specifically investigating. It cannot go willy-nilly into any battlefield without knowledge of the what, the who, the how, the when, and the damage it caused the government. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the specificity of the allegations,” he added.

However, Gordon said he has instructed the Blue Ribbon staff, as well as his own office staff, to get in touch with the authorities to find out any basis regarding the issues and will immediately act accordingly. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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