MANILA – Several government officials, including an assistant secretary and a regional director, will be slapped with cases before the Office of the Ombudsman due to their supposed involvement in corrupt activities, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairperson Greco Belgica said on Tuesday.
During the Laging Handa program, Belgica said his office is merely awaiting the Ombudsman to resume operations because it temporarily closed its office after several personnel of the anti-graft body tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Kami po ay nakahanda nang magsampa ng kaso laban sa mga matataas na official ng gobyerno, may presidential appointee (We are already ready to file a case against these high-ranking government officials, including a presidential appointee),” Belgica said. “This is the result of the intensified campaign of President [Rodrigo Duterte] against corruption na amin pong ipinatutupad (that we are implementing).”
Belgica expressed optimism that the charges against the allegedly corrupt government officials would be filed by next week.
He did not reveal the identities of the high-ranking officials.
Belgica noted that the unnamed public officials are having a luxurious lifestyle that is not commensurate with their basic salaries.
He added that the government is losing millions of pesos which could have been used for the Covid-19 pandemic response efforts because of corruption.
“Mayroon ditong kaso na isasampa namin, hopefully next week kapag open po ng Ombudsman ay involves hundreds of millions of pesos. It’s a billion dollar industry actually na because of corruption, you know taxes are lost sa ating pamahalaan na puwede sanang ibigay for Covid response, ayuda (We are ready to file a case before the Ombudsman, hopefully next week, involving hundreds of millions of pesos. It’s a billion dollar industry actually that because of corruption, you know, taxes are lost from our government that could have been used for Covid response and aid),” Belgica said.
Lifestyle check task force
Belgica said his office also formed a Task Force Lifestyle Check to look into the lifestyles of government officials accused of being involved in irregularities.
He said “several undersecretaries” are currently undergoing a lifestyle check.
He, however, did not name the presidential appointees.
“We are organizing the Task Force Lifestyle Check. Ito po ay isang authority ng PACC na gagamitin namin ngayon against officials na, ‘yun bang laging sinusumbong, ang dami-daming sinusumbong pero ang hirap prodyusan ng mga ebidensiya dahil ganiyan po ang corruption talagang tagung-tago iyan (This is a PACC authority that can be used against officials who are facing several complaints not supported by enough evidence because they are so good at hiding their involvement in corruption),” Belgica said.
He said the PACC would focus on presidential appointees with unexplained wealth.
“In the last phase of the campaign against corruption of the President, we will be concentrating on high value target.Ibig sabihin ito iyong matataas na presidential appointees na hanggang ngayon ayaw pa rin tumigil sa corruption (Meaning, we will go after presidential appointees who are still involved in corruption),” he said. (PNA)