ARTA, PACC forge stronger partnership vs corruption in gov’t

Published April 22, 2021, 7:25 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) forged a deal on Wednesday to further bolster their partnership in suppressing red tape and corruption in the government.

Under the MOA, ARTA and PACC aim “to align and integrate their functions, coordination and cooperation in handling complaints and reports of violations.”

“This has been a much-anticipated partnership that puts PACC and ARTA at the forefront of the President’s war against corruption,” PACC Chairman Greco Belgica said.

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“This agreement is a big step forward in developing and strengthening the anti-corruption campaign of the President and in achieving the administration’s goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in the government,” he added.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica noted that red tape and corruption can never be separated from one another, explaining the need for the two agencies to unite to address these perennial problems that hinder the country from moving forward.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica (PIA NCR / MANILA BULLETIN)

With the agreement, the two agencies are expected to indorse cases to one another if they fall under their jurisdiction.

Cases to be referred to PACC are violations committed by the covered presidential appointees against Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended, Republic Act No. 1379 on the unlawful acquisition of property by a public officer or employee, and Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, among others.

Meanwhile, ARTA will take cases on violations of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act committed by any public official or employee.

They can also hold joint audit or investigation on complaints raised before their respective offices provided that they arise “from a common act or omission, incident, or case.”

In his statement at the MOA signing, Belgica said that red tape and corruption have long been intertwined. It cannot be said which comes first, but there is no mistaken that “red tape and corruption are forever interlinked with each other.”

“That is why red tape should be cut because red tape is a necessary by-product of corruption, or corruption becomes a by-product of red tape,” he said. 

PACC Chairman Greco Belgica also committed for the final stretch of the Duterte Administration that:

“As the President has relentlessly reminded all to stop corruption and that he will dedicate the remaining time of his term in fighting corruption and red tape, the PACC and ARTA will likewise intensify its fight against corruption and recommend to the President stiffer penalties on erring officials in government.” 

The MOA signing came a day after the ARTA chief personally visited the “Community Pantry” in Quezon City to make the authorities understand that such kind of “bayanihan” undertaking does not require any government permit. 

“This actually highlights some of the wrong notion of the government’s role when it comes to the lives of the people. The government should be the protector of freedom. The government should be able reproach when it comes to corruption,” he stressed. 

“Government should be able to restrain itself as to when to come in and when to let the people live their lives freely.”