Marcos axes anti-corruption commission, cabinet secretary post

·2 min read
Philippine President Ferdinand
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JUNE 30: Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivers a speech after taking his oath as the next President, at the National Museum of Fine Arts on June 30, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Citing the need to “simplify internal management of officers under the Office of the President (OP),” President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed his first-ever executive order by abolishing the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Office of Cabinet Secretary.

Under Marcos Jr.s' Executive Order No. 1 signed on Thursday, July 7, 2022, the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs will take over the powers and functions of the now-defunct PACC.

Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez explained that there are several agencies and offices that has overlapping functions with other bureaucracies within the government, and so “to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency in the bureaucracy without effecting disruptions in internal management and general governance,” it decided to forgo the two offices directly under the supervision of the OP.

“The Presidential Anti-corruption Commission is hereby abolished and its jurisdiction powers and functions shall be transferred to the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs,” the executive order read.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte signed the creation of PACC in 2017 to investigate graft and corruption against presidential appointees in the executive branch. The commission also conducts lifestyle checks among public officials.

Meanwhile, all existing secretariat officers of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary “shall be placed under the direct control and supervision of the Presidential Management Staff.”

The creation of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Military and Police Affairs under the Office of the Special Assistant to the President has also been mandated.

Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez will now supervise and control agencies under the Office of the President.

Marcos Jr.s’ Executive Order 2 meanwhile reorganizes the Presidential Communications Operations Office into the Office of the Press Secretary.

‘Free hand' to Cabinet secretaries to streamline agencies

During his first press conference at the Malacañang Palace, Marcos said he would allow his Cabinet secretaries to exercise their jurisdiction to choose their personnel and initiate reforms within their respective agencies.

"As we attend to immediate concerns, we are also trying to streamline the government so its function is better, its function is much more efficient," Marcos Jr. said.

"Let’s get our bureaucracy streamlined. I gave them – I said I will not... [I tell them], 'I give you a relatively free hand in deciding who you want to hire and how you want to change the structure of your department if indeed that’s what you want to do,” he added.

He said the directive bids to make it "easier, simpler, safer, and more secure" to transact with the government.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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