Task force taking over PACC probe on DPWH corruption
“The PACC expressed its desire to turn over to the TFAC its probe,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.
Presidential Photo/Toto Lozano

Task force taking over PACC probe on DPWH corruption

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Task Force Against Corruption (TFAC) would be taking over the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)’s investigation into cases of alleged corruption involving nine congressmen and 14 Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) district engineers.

“The PACC expressed its desire to turn over to the TFAC its probe,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.

“The TFAC will accept the turnover of the subject complaints from the PACC, considering that most of these complaints are not ready for immediate filing with the ombudsman and need further investigation or case buildup,” he added.

Guevarra noted that many of the complaints brought before the PACC did not have enough evidence to file cases before the Office of the Ombudsman.

He gave assurance that the TFAC, headed by the  Department of Justice (DOJ), would determine whether or not allegations that nine members of the House of Representatives received kickbacks from DPWH projects are true.

“The PACC, being a member of the TFAC, will continue to participate actively in the investigation within the framework of the Task Force,” he added.

The DOJ chief also welcomed an offer from the House committee on good government and public accountability, chaired by Democratic Independent Workers Association (DIWA) party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay, to provide legislative assistance to the task force if necessary.

Last Dec. 28, President Duterte read the names of eight incumbent legislators and one former House member who, according to a PACC report, allegedly connived with DPWH district engineers to commit corruption.

They are Representatives Josephine Ramirez Sato of Occidental Mindoro, Alfredo Paolo Vargas of the 5th district of Quezon City, Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental who is also a deputy speaker, Alyssa Sheena Tan of the 4th district of Isabela, Paul Daza of the 1st district of Northern Samar, Angelina Helen Tan of the 4th district of Quezon province, Eric Yap of ACT-CIS party-list who is also the caretaker of the Benguet congressional district, and Geraldine Roman of the first district of Bataan.

The former lawmaker tagged by the PACC was Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao.

Yesterday, Quezon Rep. Tan welcomed the TFAC’s takeover of the investigation, calling it “a proper venue to prove the allegation wrong.”

“In the first place PACC has no jurisdiction to investigate members of the House,” she told The STAR in a text message.

Yap also scored the PACC for its alleged “witch-hunting,” lamenting how the commission “did not even bother invite me to answer the allegation.”

He questioned the intention of Commissioner Greco Belgica in releasing the report and noted the PACC chief himself was slapped with a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman over the case of Duty Free Philippines Corp. workers last October. – Edu Punay

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