President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the inter-agency task force led by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra to probe alleged corruption “in the entire government.”
In a speech aired on Tuesday, Duterte announced that he had issued a memorandum as part of his promise to dedicate the remaining years of his term to “fighting corruption.”
Reading from a copy of his order, which will be effective until June 30, 2022, when he steps down from office unless sooner lifted or revoked, Duterte said: “The DOJ shall have the authority to decide which allegation to investigate, taking into consideration the gravity thereof and their impact on the delivery of government service.”
“The DOJ shall prosecute and file the proper charges against all those involved in the anomalies, investigate, whether against the government or private persons as may be warranted by the evidence gathered, subject to applicable laws and rules,” Duterte added.
The agency was also directed by the Chief Executive to “create as many panels as it deems necessary” and “invite or direct” other government bodies and agencies to assist in their investigation.
Duterte previously said he wanted “special focus” on corruption allegations in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the supposed corruption in the Department of Agriculture (DA). He, however, claimed that he does not blame DPWH Secretary Mark Villar for the wrongdoings in his agency.
“Let me state here and now that I have nothing against Secretary Villar. He is one of the hardworking [officials], and Secretary Villar has many accomplishments. But, you know, accomplishments alone, to me, should not suffice. But it’s not his job to be running after crooks,” said Duterte.
The president also warned that “in the coming days,” the public should expect a string of suspensions of government officials. Persons “without fault” will be spared, he added.