THE expanded task force recently created by President Rodrigo Duterte will include in their investigations into systemic corruption in government the probe into the alleged ghost projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, according to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
In an interview after leading the distribution of assistance to flash flood victims in San Pablo City, Laguna, Go said that Duterte has asked the expanded task force investigating corruption in the government to audit alleged ghost projects in DPWH. The task force is headed by the Department of Justice.
“Tuluy-tuloy po iyan, pinapasilip na po ni Pangulo ‘yung mga ghost projects. Pinapasilip n’ya dito sa mega task force, pinapa-audit niya po ang lahat ng mga, ‘ika nga, kung mayroong mga ghost project, at mananagot po ang dapat managot. Tuluy-tuloy po ‘yan,” Go assured the public.
Warning erring public officials who refuse to comply with Duterte’s policies against corruption, Go said that they will face consequences for their deeds.
“Alam n’yo nasa tao na ‘yan. Kung korap ka talaga, kung gusto mong pumasok sa korapsyon, eh, korap ka talaga. Parating sinasabi ni Pangulo tuwing may ina-appoint s’ya sa gobyerno, ‘Just do what is right and avoid corruption’,” Go said.
“So pag pumasok ka sa korapsyon, hindi mo sinunod ‘yung paalala ni Pangulo, you face the consequence. Kung sisibakin ka, kakasuhan ka, ikukulong ka, face the consequence. Talagang tutuluyan kayo ni Pangulo. Tutuluyan namin kayo,” Go added.
He, then, appealed to the conscience of corrupt government officials to shape up and do what is right.
“‘Yung mga korap sa gobyerno, maawa naman kayo sa taumbayan. Nagbabayad ng buwis ang mga ‘yan, they expect nothing less. Lahat po ng binayad nilang buwis ay magagamit po sa tama at wala pong masasayang. Walang masasayang, walang matatapon po dahil sa korapsyon,” he added.
In previous pronouncements, Duterte revealed corruption in the DPWH, prompting Secretary Mark Villar to form a fact-finding task force.
Go lauded Villar’s decision, calling it a step in the right direction, but recommended that a whole-of-government approach is necessary to address perennial issues of corruption in the bureaucracy.
He stressed that there must be “no sacred cows” and every official must take responsibility in cleansing their ranks, emphasizing the President’s warning that he will not tolerate “even a whiff of corruption.”
Go also recommended that preventive suspensions must be imposed on suspected corrupt officials in order to preserve the integrity of the probe. He also raised the need for lifestyle checks to identify government workers who live beyond their means.
Amid the reported continuing corruption in the DPWH, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and even in the agriculture sector, the Senator was the one who recommended to the President the creation of the new and more empowered task force with an expanded scope to investigate reported anomalies in any government agency. The task force will operate until Duterte’s term ends in 2022.
“Exasperated na po si Pangulong Duterte dahil sa korapsyon sa gobyerno. Para rin po itong pandemya na sumisira sa ating normal na pamumuhay,” he said.
“Gusto ng Pangulo na mag-iwan ng pagbabago sa bansa lalo na sa kampanya laban sa korapsyon — pagbabagong ramdam dapat ng taumbayan. Gusto niya maalala ng tao na nilabanan niya lahat ng corruption sa gobyerno,” he said.
He added that the President enjoyed high approval ratings “because Filipinos see the sincerity and seriousness of his leadership to improve public service delivery by putting an end to corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.”
“Kung paano tayo magbabayanihan ngayon para labanan ang pandemya, magkaisa rin dapat tayo para puksain ang sakit na korapsyon sa ating sistema,” he said.
The said task force will be mandated to investigate all issues of corruption in agencies, prosecute and file charges, conduct lifestyle checks, audit funds, recommend suspensions and put in jail those found guilty of corrupt practices.