President Duterte aide names 5 government agencies in war on graft - GulfToday

President Duterte aide names 5 government agencies in war on graft


President Duterte attends a meeting. File photo

Manolo B. Jara, Gulf Today

A senior cabinet official on Wednesday revealed that state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and four other government agencies would be given top priority in the investigation over the emergence of massive graft and corruption in the bureaucracy which President Duterte vowed to eliminate four years ago.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that aside from PhilHealth, the other agencies included the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Land Transportation Agency (LTA) widely believed to be “centers” of massive graft and corruption.

In a related development, the office of the Ombudsman ordered the suspension for six months without pay of five ranking Department of Health (DOH) officials following the filing of administrative charges against them for allegedly delaying the payment of benefits to medical frontliners against the spread of the noval coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, Guevarra expressed confidence that significant progress would be achieved in the resurrected war on corruption in the remaining two years of Duterte whose fixed six-year term as the president is to expire in June 2022.


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“I think that within the term of the president, we can present really something to the public,” said Guevarra who was designated by Duterte to head the the war on corruption, in an interview with ABS-CBN in a mix of Filipino and English.

In particular, Guevarra said his wide-ranging investigation would spare no one including top government officials whom Duterte has earlier expressed trust and confidence for their reported non-involvement in scandals and anomalies in the bureaucracy.

“I don’t think simply because he (Duterte) has expressed trust to a certain official, he will neglect glaring evidence showing their involvement (in corruption),” said Guevarra who was first appointed to investigate officials of scandal-wracked PhilHealth, that led to the filing of criminal charges against them.

“It’s merely an expression of trust but that’s not an expression of exoneration,” said Guevarra without, however elaborating.

But in several statements, Duterte said he does not believe that Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar were involved in corruption, simply because the two officials belonged to rich families.

In a related development, Ombudsman Samuel Martires, the country’s chief graft-buster, ordered the suspension for six months without pay of five ranking health department officials for their alleged involvement in the delay of the release of benefits for healthcare frontliners like doctors and nurses in the campaign against OVID-19.

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