Duterte creates Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte created an anti-corruption body which will investigate corruption involving presidential appointees.

Duterte Wednesday, October 3, 2017  signed Executive Order No. 43 (EO No. 43)  which has the mandate  “To directly assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and or corruption against all presidential appointees.”

The PACC is under the Office of the President, it will be composed of a Chairman and four Commissioners to be appointed by the President, the majority of whom must be Philippine Bar members and have been practicing law for at least five (5) years.
The PACC will also have a Secretariat, to be headed by an Executive Director, who will provide technical and administrative support to the Commission.

The EO 43 states    “There is a need to create a separate commission under the Office of the President solely dedicated to providing assistance to the President in the investigation and hearing of administrative cases and complaints, and in the conduct of lifestyle checks and/or fact-finding inquiries concerning presidential appointees and other public officers allegedly involved in graft and corrupt practices, or have committed other high crimes and/or violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

During the campaign period, Duterte vowed to fight corruption in government saying  it is stealing the country’s wealth  which could have been used for the economic improvement of the people.

The EO cited the Administration’s continuing mandate to fight and eradicate graft and corruption in government, as well as its advocacy to ensure that all public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust.

The EO states that the commission shall “have the power, on complaint or motu proprio (on its own), and concurrently with the Office of the Ombudsman, to hear, investigate, receive, gather, and evaluate evidence, intelligence reports, and information in administrative cases against all presidential appointees in the Executive Branch of the government and any of its agencies and instrumentalities occupying the position of assistant regional director or an equivalent rank and higher.”

Upon the President’s instruction, the Commission may investigate presidential appointees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) whenever he deems it necessary or appropriate.

On the President’s orders or on its own, the Commission may also conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or omissions of all presidential appointees, including those outside the executive branch which may be violative of the Constitution, or contrary to law, rules and regulation, and/or constitute serious misconduct tantamount to betrayal of public trust.

“On the basis of such fact-finding inquiries, the Commission shall submit its report and recommended courses of action to the President,” the EO said.

The Commission shall use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case and complaint speedily and objectively, in all instances observing due process.

EO 43 further states that “the resignation or retirement of the public officer under investigation shall not divest the Commission of jurisdiction to continue the investigation or hearing thereof.”

The Commission also has the power to tap law enforcement agencies and make recommendations to place vital witnesses under the justice department’s Witness Protection Program.

The Commission may also recommend to the President the preventive suspension of an official upon the filing of a complaint or charge.

It also has the power to summon government personnel and records, as well as to administer oaths.

The EO prohibits the disclosure of records or information in connection with any investigation “when such disclosure will deprive the respondent of his/her right to a fair and impartial investigation of the case.”-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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