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Miscellaneous

Roque praises Duterte’s anti-corruption stance

UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque commended President Rodrigo Duterte’s simple lifestyle and conduct in the office which he said has become a strong anti-corruption deterrent in government.

The former presidential spokesman praised the President for walking the talk and having zero- tolerance for graft and corrupt practices within the public sector.

“The President has led a simple lifestyle and has not engaged in any dubious transaction,” Roque said. “He has shown that profiteering or misuse of public funds has no place in public service.”

He added that Duterte’s crusade against corrupt elements in government led to the creation of the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) in 2017.

The PACC has assisted the President in investigating and hearing graft and corruption cases against presidential appointees and employees.

The commission has also conducted lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on the acts and omissions of all covered public officers that constitute a betrayal of public trust.

Roque admitted that corruption could not be eradicated overnight.

However, he said Duterte’s policy of naming and shaming government officials accused of bribery proves his commitment to accountability and clean governance.

He cited the series of graft cases and other complaints that he filed against the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) before the Ombudsman between 2019 and 2020.

He suggested that the Office of the Ombudsman enter into a memorandum of understanding with the National Prosecution Service (NPS) under the Department of Justice to speed up the investigation and prosecution of corrupt public and civil servants.

Roque noted that the Office of the Ombudsman has to expedite its course of action on administrative, civil, and criminal complaints filed against public and civil servants.

“More than two years have passed, but there is still no resolution to these complaints. Under our constitution, only the Ombudsman can formally file criminal charges against these PhilHealth officials,” Roque said.

He continued: “Perhaps one innovative way is for the Office of the Ombudsman, through a formal agreement, can delegate the task of conducting the preliminary investigation to the NPS.”

The former member of the 17th Congress suggested giving the Ombudsman and his deputies a fixed time frame to conduct their investigation.

For instance, he said prosecutors can be given 90 days to come up with a resolution on a complaint.

The Office of the Ombudsman is mandated to promptly act on complaints filed against high-ranking officials and employees of government that involve grave offenses and large sums of money and properties.

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