Tit for tat: House to probe Palace investigator on alleged irregularities at Duty Free

Published December 29, 2020, 5:09 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Palace’s graft investigator will be investigated by the House of Representatives in the coming year, a lawmaker vowed Tuesday after being linked to alleged graft and corruption by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap (Photo via PNA / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Eric Go Yap told reporters that he will have PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica subjected to a congressional inquiry in connection with the alleged whitewashing of the PACC probe into alleged irregularities within the Duty Free Philippines Corp.

“Kaya magkakaroon ng House inquiry sa Duty Free because it is my job as a congressman to initiate it.  Once and for all we want to make sure na ang tagabantay natin ay hindi nali-link sa corruption. (A House inquiry into Duty Free will be conducted because it is my job as a congressman to initiate it.  We have to make sure that those watching us are not themselves linked to corruption,” Yap told reporters during a virtual press conference.
Yap, together with eight other incumbent and former House members, were mentioned by President Duterte as among those whose names were included in the PACC report of lawmakers linked to anomalies in the implementation of infrastructure contracts by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The PACC allegedly linked Yap to anomalous contracts implemented in Benguet where he is assigned as caretaker congressman.

Yap, who disclosed his intention to run as a district congressman in Benguet, accused Belgica of being part of a smear drive aimed at derailing his plans to run in the province.

The partylist solon blamed local politicians as being behind the alleged black propaganda directed against him.

However, Yap also noted that he put Belgica to task last year when the PACC chief publicly accused members of the Lower House of involvement in graft in the DPWH without naming them.  He said Belgica also failed to support his accusations with evidence.

The neophyte solon complained that Belgica did not give him and other lawmakers the opportunity to air their side on the reported anomalies.

“But we will give him the opportunity to clear his name. We will make sure that this House inquiry will be in aid of legislation and that all sides will be heard,” said Yap.

Even before the House could launch its probe into the DFPC controversy, a graft complaint had already been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Belgica in connection with the issue.

Saying that they were “very frustrated and disappointed” over the way the PACC handled complaints of corruption against DFPC officials, nine Duty Free employees had accused Belgica of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the service, gross inexcusable negligence and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

 
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