MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte could now “directly” investigate or “assume jurisdiction” over cases being probed by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) against erring government officials.
This was contained in Executive Order No. 73 signed by Duterte on December 28 but released to the media only on Friday.
“[N]othing shall prevent the President, in the interest of the service, from directly investigating and/or hearing an administrative case against any presidential appointee or authorizing other offices under the Office of the President to do the same, as well as from assuming jurisdiction at any stage of the proceedings over cases being investigated by the Commission,” the EO stated.
The EO also added powers to the PACC, stating that it could now recommend filing criminal complaints against corrupt government officials before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice.
“After due investigation,” the Duterte order stated, the PACC can “recommend to the President the filing of appropriate criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice.”
Under the old EO, the PACC could only refer a case to the Office of the Ombudsman when it “deems it warranted and necessary.”
EO No. 73 further directed PACC “to recommend to the Anti-Red Tape Authority, for investigation, violations of RA No. 9485, otherwise known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.”
The anti-corruption body would also “perform such other functions or duties as may be assigned by the President.”
Though signed in late December, the release of the new EO’s copy came days after the PACC announced it was investigating three Cabinet officials, which include Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Bello had slammed the announcement of PACC, saying it broke its mandate when it revealed the names of officials it was investigating.
Under the old directive, the commission and its personnel should “not disclose or make public any record or information” of its ongoing investigation when such may deprive the respondent of a “fair and impartial investigation.” /kga
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