Ombudsman to continue with own corruption probes parallel with âmega task forceâ
File photo shows Ombudsman Samuel Martires.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Ombudsman to continue with own corruption probes parallel with ‘mega task force’
( - October 30, 2020 - 3:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Samuel Martires assured that it will continue to conduct its own investigations into alleged anomalies in the government parallel with the anti-corruption task force formed by President Rodrigo Duterte to probe irregularities in the “entire government.”

“The Ombudsman assures the public that it will continue to conduct in-depth parallel investigations as to alleged anomalies in the government despite this Office’s limited manpower and the ongoing reorganization to strengthen the bureaus undertaking investigative functions,” Martires said Friday in a statement.

Martires also said that investigations conducted by the task force led by the justice department would be subject to the evaluation of his office.

Despite observers pointing out that the “mega task force” would possibly overstep the functions of the Office of the Ombudsman, Martires welcomed its formation and even hailed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra as an “intelligent and decent public servant.”

“The DOJ has been a long-standing partner of the Office in its drive against corruption,” Martires said. “Given this partnership, there is absolutely no basis to detract or underestimate the laudable objectives of the president in creating the DOJ mega task force.”

Guevarra has identified the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., the Land Registration Authority, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs as the agencies which will be prioritized by the task force’s investigation.

Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, assured that no one will be spared from the task force’s investigation. This despite Duterte himself absolving Villar and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III from any wrongdoing even ahead of the probe. — Xave Gregorio

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