SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go said that the recently created expanded inter-agency task force mandated to address and eradicate prevalent systemic corruption in various government agencies shows President Rodrigo Duterte’s firm commitment to deliver on his promise of real change before his term ends through a more holistic and whole-of-government approach in fighting corruption.
This, he said, will not overlap with the functions of existing anti-corruption agencies and constitutional bodies, such as the Office of the Ombudsman.
During an interview, Go said that while the Ombudsman has its own constitutional mandate to address issues of corruption, the Department of Justice—which leads the newly created task force— also has its own mandate and mechanisms to look into systemic corruption in government
“Hindi naman po, kasi itong Department of Justice, they lead the task force, mayroon naman mandato ang DOJ na talagang mag-prosecute,” Go said.
“It may also create as many panels as it deems necessary, and direct other government agencies to assist or be part of its panels, such as the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, among others,” he added.
Go also assured that the expanded task force will not just investigate, but will also file charges, prosecute, conduct lifestyle checks, recommend suspensions, and put in jail the erring officials found guilty of corruption.
It was the Senator who recommended to the President the creation of a new task force with an expanded scope to investigate reported anomalies in any government agency. The task force will also operate until Duterte’s term ends in 2022.
“Kung paano tayo magbabayanihan ngayon para labanan ang pandemya, magkaisa rin dapat tayo para puksain ang sakit na korapsyon sa ating sistema,” he said.
“Wala tayong pipiliin, wala tayong sasantuhin. Kasuhan na ang mga dapat makasuhan. Tuluyan ang mga dapat tuluyan. Towards the last one year and eight months of this administration, we must not hesitate in our quest to eradicate corruption,” he added.
President Duterte repeatedly expressed exasperation due to prevalent corruption issues which he believed compromised the ability of the government to provide much-needed services to the people during a time when a global pandemic is draining the nation’s coffers.
Similarly, the Senator, who serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, believed the ongoing corruption also hampers the country’s ability to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
During the same interview, Go also commended the government and the Filipino public for their cooperation which resulted in the country ranking high at Washington-based analytics and advisory firm Gallup’s 2020 Global Law and Order report.
“I commend the people of the Republic of the Philippines sa kanilang kooperasyon sa gobyerno,” Go said.
“Noong unang panahon pa lang po noong kampanya, pinangako niya sa tao ang peace and order sa bansa. Noon…po takot ang mga tao na lumabas po dahil nandiyan po ang mga kriminal pero ngayon po baliktad na — ang kriminal na ang takot lumabas dahil yayariin po sila ng gobyerno,” he added.
Gallup’s report is based on the people’s sense of personal security and experiences with crime and law enforcement in the country. According to the news reports, those who were surveyed provided positive responses to the law enforcement agencies in the Philippines. They also gave positive feedback that law enforcement authorities are doing their work.
“Ito po ay isang testamento na patunay na totoo ating kampanya laban sa iligal na droga, kriminalidad at korapsyon sa bansa,” he said.
He added that overseas Filipino parents, for example, now have peace of mind knowing that their children back in the Philippines are safe and secure.
“‘Yung OFWs natin na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa ay may peace of mind sila para sa mga anak nila na naiwan dito sa Pilipinas,” he said.
“Yan po siguro ang dahilan kaya mataas po ang trust rating ni Pangulong Duterte sa bayan. Maraming salamat po sa atin mga kababayan na patuloy na kooperasyon, so magtulungan po tayo,” he ended.