Duterte hands off in DOJ task force corruption probe, assures Guevarra

President Duterte will not determine which government officials should be charged by the task force that is led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate corruption in government, assured Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

“The President has given the DOJ a free hand in filing cases, but if presidential appointees are to be charged, official courtesy demands that the appointing authority be informed in advance,” Guevarra told reporters.

The secretary made the assurance even though it was Duterte who issued the memorandum which ordered Guevarra to have the task force all corrupt activities in the government.

“Our output is not just recommendatory,” Guevarra reminded.

He explained the task force has been given the job “to prosecute those whom we shall find, after due investigation, to have been involved in corrupt practices.”

On the other hand, Guevarra revealed that running after corrupt officials is only part of the task force’s “twin goals.”

“Our other objective is preventive in nature; install anti-corruption mechanisms in government agencies, educate the citizenry on the evils of corruption, promote values of integrity and civic-mindedness, and the like,” he explained.

Guevarra formed the DOJ-led task force back in Aug. 7 pursuant to the directive of President Duterte to investigate anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Now the President has ordered Guevarra to expand the coverage of corruption investigation of the task force to include the entire government.

Aside from the DOJ, the task force consists of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the National Prosecution Service (NPS), the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (OOC),  and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).