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Ombuds to intensify anti-graft campaign

CEBU - The Office of the Ombudsman Visayas vowed to intensify its anti-graft campaign after the Central Visayas ranked as the second most corrupt region in the country based on the number of public officials charged before the Sandiganbayan for the past 30 years.

Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol said he would soon launch the operation anti-fixers. A memorandum of agreement will soon be signed between the Ombudsman, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police for the “Oplan Anti-Fixers.”

Apostol said that like what they did in the Oplan Red Plate campaign, undercover operatives of the task force will conduct surveillance in different government agencies.

An entrapment operation will be conducted against government officials and employees involved in fixing government transactions.

“Ang fixing may katapat na falsification yan,” Apostol said.

According to Apostol, the government is losing so much money because of fixing. He said almost 30-percent of the government transactions went to facilitation.

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Through the “oplan anti-fixers” Apostol is hopeful that the anti-graft office will further bring down the incidents of corruption in the region.

Apostol said that the incidence of corruption in Central Visayas is already low contrary to earlier reports that it is second to the National Capital Region.

Apostol said that the figures released by Sandiganbayan are not reflective of the real corruption situation in the region. According to Apostol, it is not true that the incident of corruption is high.

“Hindi ako naniniwala na tumaas ang incidence of corruption, ang incidence of awareness ang nag-increase,” Apostol said.

The anti-graft court records showed that Region 7 occupies the second spot with 3,313 officials charged with graft and corruption. National Capital Region topped the list with 6,841 public officials facing graft charges.

Regions IV and III or the Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon, respectively, completed the top four corrupt regions. Southern Tagalog ranked third with 2,935 and Central Luzon with 2, 154 public officials charged with graft since 1979 until the last working day of 2008. — Fred P. Languido/LPM   (THE FREEMAN)

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