DOLE forms own anti-corruption task force
This undated photo shows Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Miguel De Guzman/The STAR
DOLE forms own anti-corruption task force
Xave Gregorio ( - October 28, 2020 - 4:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — The labor department is forming its own anti-corruption task force after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the creation of a panel led by the justice department to probe corruption in the “entire government.”

Labor undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said in a media briefing on Wednesday that this is to aid the justice department in its probe into anomalies in the government.

“The objective of this task force is to accept and collate data — if any — about complaints filed by our fellow citizens against officials or employees of the labor department and against other organizations that we think are in cahoots with some workers in the department,” Benavidez said in Filipino.

Benavidez said that the task force will be led by two undersecretaries and will be formed mostly by lawyers, with representatives from the labor department’s three largest attached agencies, namely the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the National Labor Relations Commission.

Aside from accepting complaints from citizens, which will then be endorsed to the justice department for review and their appropriate action, the labor department’s task force is also tasked to review processes in the agency so these can be expedited.

Ahead of Duterte’s order for a task force to probe corruption in the entire government, the public works department had also created its own task force to investigate alleged anomalies in the agency.

Duterte created the justice department-led task force in the heels of his rants over the supposedly rampant corruption in the public works department, led by Secretary Mark Villar. Villar, however, has been absolved by the president from any wrongdoing.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra met Tuesday night with National Prosecution Service chief Prosecutor General Beneficto Malcontento and National Bureau of Investigation officer-in-charge Eric Distor to organize the core group of the anti-corruption task force.

Guevarra told radio dzBB on Wednesday morning that the task force will focus on national agencies under the executive department, adding that they will target offices prone to corruption such as the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue, as well as the Land Registration Authority.

The Constitution already provides for bodies to investigate corruption in the entire government — the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit. — with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

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