Corruption task force files charges vs. lawmaker, town officials, DPWH personnel

Published April 8, 2021, 1:46 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ)-led Task Force Against Corruption (TFAC) has filed with the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) criminal charges against an incumbent member of Congress, personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways, and officials of a local government unit.

DOJ Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar said on Thursday, April 8, the TFAC continues to receive complaints of corruption against government officials and personnel.

“Two complaints filed with the TFAC have already been found to be sufficient in form and substance, and were endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman,” Undersecretary Villar said.

She said one of the cases filed before the OMB involves “a Representative in Congress and the DPWH on the favoring of certain contractors.”

The other case, she said, involves “irregularities in the purchase of land by a municipality.”

She did not name those against whom charges were filed.

“The cases have just been referred to the Ombudsman and we have not received any update whether they have commenced the investigation so I won’t be able to give those details yet,” she explained.

Villar said the TFAC has received a total of 274 complaints.  But since many of the complaints have the same subjects as those received by the task force, “the accurate number of complaints with the TFAC is 180,” she said.

“Some (of the complaints) are being evaluated by the Complaints Evaluation Committee (CEC). Those which have already been evaluated by the CEC have been referred to the Assistant Secretaries, to the Undersecretaries or to the Secretary for review or further action,” she said.

 A total of 69 complaints “have been referred to other TFAC members and appropriate agencies for comment/action,” she also said.

The TFAC was formed by President Duterte on Oct. 27, 2020.  The President directed Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra to have the DOJ lead a task force to investigate corruption in government until the end of his term in June 2022.

Aside from the DOJ, the task force is composed of representatives from 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).