Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said there would be no sacred cows in the Duterte administration.
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Palace: Erring Cabinet men to be held accountable
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 8, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Erring officials will be held accountable for their actions, Malacañang assured the public yesterday after the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) announced that it is investigating three officials accused of irregularities. 

PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna earlier identified the three officials as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, former Customs commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Isidro Lapeña and National Commission on Indigenous People chairman Leonor Oralde-Quintayo.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said there would be no sacred cows in the Duterte administration. 

“You violate the law, regardless of your status – whether you’re a friend, an ally, a political adversary, a relative, a friend or a fraternity brother – it doesn’t matter. You are accountable,” Panelo told journalists.

“We will wait for the findings. If there’s evidence, the President will act on it,” he said.

Bello said he is not aware of any complaint or pending investigation being conducted against him by the PACC.

He said he is ready to address the issue once the PACC would require him to answer the allegations of corruption being hurled against him.

“Wala pa namang (Still no) complaint against me and they have not asked me to reply to any complaint,” Bello said, referring to PACC.

President Duterte, who won on a platform of curbing corruption and crime, has promised not to tolerate even a whiff of corruption in his administration. 

To prove that he is serious about his anti-corruption drive, Duterte has fired several officials, including members of the Cabinet accused of involvement in questionable deals and unnecessary trips.

Critics claimed Duterte’s crackdown is selective, saying the President has spared his close allies and even reappointed some dismissed officials to new posts. 

Panelo said the President fires an official once there is evidence showing he committed wrongdoing. 

“If you say whiff of corruption, there should be substantial grounds. The President will order an investigation. If you are accused of something, it doesn’t mean you will be dismissed immediately. The President is not like that,” Panelo said.

Yesterday, Malacañang  said it would allow the PACC investigation against Bello, Lapeña and Quintayo to continue.

In July last year, a local job recruiter accused Bello and two other labor officials of graft and corruption.

Amanda Araneta, president and general manager of MMML Recruitment Services Inc., threatened to file charges before the PACC.

Araneta claimed she personally gave Bello an iPhone and P100,000 cash as Christmas gift in 2016.

She said she also tried to give him an expensive bottle of perfume as well as P100,000 cash as a belated birthday gift in June 2017.

Bello denied the accusations. – With Mayen Jaymalin

CABINET MEMBERS PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION
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