2 Cabinet members under probe for corruption, says PACC

Ruth Abbey Gita

TWO incumbent members of the Duterte Cabinet are being investigated for supposed involvement in corrupt practices, an official of the presidential anti-corruption body revealed Wednesday, August 14.

In a press conference, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica said the investigations were prompted by complaints against the two high-ranking officials submitted to their office.

Belgica said one of the complaints was lodged by a government official while the other case was filed by a private citizen.

"Mayroong complaint na i-finile so duty-bound kami to investigate. Secretaries, dalawa, Cabinet rank. Incumbent (There was a complaint filed so we're duty-bound to investigate. The complaints involve two Secretaries holding Cabinet rank. They are incumbent officials)," the PACC official said.

Belgica said the respective investigations against the two secretaries began in February.

He, however, refused to divulge the name of the two Cabinet officials, pending the results of the investigations.

"Ang investigation kasi doesn't mean they're already guilty. So it's unfair to mention them and make them appear na corrupt (The conduct of the investigation does not mean they're already guilty. So it's unfair to mention them and make them appear that they're corrupt)," Belgica said.

Belgica said the PACC's investigation is nearing completion, since the two Cabinet secretaries are cooperating with the agency.

He said a report is expected to be submitted to the President once the PACC is done with its investigation.

"Ang investigation namin (Our investigation) cannot be revealed to the public until it has been submitted to the President. [When] the President decides on it, then it can be opened to the public," he said.

Meantime, Belgica noted that around 200 government officials will be subjected to lifestyle checks, including those from the Environment and Natural Resources departments.

Belgica added that the PACC has required the Land Transportation Office, Social Security System, Bureau of International Revenue, Land Registration Authority, and PAG-IBIG to respond to the "mounting complaints" against them.

He likewise assured the public that the anti-corruption body would help President Rodrigo Duterte fulfill his vow to get rid of corruption in government.

"Let it be known that we will show no mercy against corrupt officials. We will file cases, we will make it go through the process and at the same time, we will recognize and acknowledge offices and agencies that are really working very hard and meeting the target of the President for us to give a better or comfortable life for our people," Belgica said. (SunStar Philippines)