President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no jurisdiction to investigate House of Representatives members who had been tagged in corruption in their respective districts.
Duterte added he could not release the names of alleged corrupt solons in his weekly briefings as they were on the co-equal branch of government, the legislature.
“If I do not have jurisdiction, then I do not have the authority to release their names,” Duterte said in a briefing on Monday night. The President said he would have to refer the findings of graft against the congressmen to the Ombudsman.
The President claimed he was not trying to cover up for the House members and noted that he could mention names as he has no jurisdiction.
“I’m not trying to wash my hand, I am now dwelling on the law,” he said. “If I cannot investigate the congressmen, then I have no authority to be releasing their names that they are involved per investigation by the PACC.”
“‘Di sa natatakot o may kino-cover-an na congressman, wala. Pagdating sa listahan, it will be given to me and to me alone,” he added.
Duterte said he would ask the Secretary of Justice to evaluate the list, and the latter would forward it to the Ombudsman.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the chair of the mega task force against anti-corruption Duterte formed, said the PACC and the Anti-Money Laundering Council had the jurisdiction toname personalities in alleged graft cases under investigation.
Duterte: I can’t probe congressmen tagged in corruption
Guevarra clarified that allegedly corrupt transactions were the ones being probed, not individuals.
“It’s not really the person who is being investigated but a particular transaction na maaari pong nakasama o may involvement itong any member of the government which is outside the executive department,” Guevarra said.
The DOJ Secretary said the mega task force had received around 20 complaints as of November 16.
“But not all these pertain to transactions or projects worth at least P1 billion,” he said in a message to reporters.