By Genalyn Kabiling
Around 200 top government officials will be subjected to lifestyle checks by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) in line with its mandate to help stamp out corruption in the bureaucracy.
PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said the lifestyle checks will be initially conducted on top officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Bureau of Customs (BoC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“My estimate is at least 200,” he said in Filipino during a Palace press briefing. “We will start on top then let’s go down further,” he added.
He said they have formed an ad hoc committee called “Project Usig” that will be tasked to conduct the lifestyle checks against corrupt government officials as well as the filing of corresponding charges against them.
The anti-corruption commission intends to complete the lifestyle checks on the concerned officials before the end of the year, according to Belgica.
“We will be conducting in compliance with the orders of the President to eradicate corruption, we will conduct investigations and lifestyle checks against the top officials of the agencies,” he said.
“The agencies include the PCSO, and (its officials) have recently submitted their SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) to us during our meeting with the General Manager Garma last week,” he added.
He said they will also start the lifestyle check on the 64 Custom employees recently implicated in alleged corruption, as well as conduct a “full-blown” investigation on the BIR following the recent filing of charges against 13 BIR officials.
“We will be including sa lifestyle check po ang DENR and DPWH among its top officials. We will include district engineers, RDOs (regional district officers), Undersecretaries because complaints have piled up in our office against these people so we will begin with the lifestyle check,” he added.
Belgica, meantime, commended the Department of Transportation (DOTr) officials, led by Secretary Arthur Tugade, for volunteering to submit themselves to lifestyle checks.
“Siya po mismo ang sumulat sa akin at nagsabi, “Imbestigahan mo ang lahat ng aking mga kawani na humahawak ng puwesto, tao at pondo [He wrote to me and said, ‘Investigate all my officials in charge of personnel and funds],” he said.
Belgica also appealed to the public to report any corruption involving government officials and workers. He said PACC has teamed up with the Anti-Red Tape Authority and Hotline 8888 for a “Super Response Team” to address complaints of corruption and red tape in government agencies.