Malacañang said Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte’s order of a government-wide corruption investigation did not exempt anyone.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque denied at a news conference in Bohol the allegations of Senator Panfilo Lacson that Duterte seemed to have spared Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III the corruption probe. The President recently said the two agency chiefs were not involved in stealing people’s money.
“Wala naman po sigurong ganoon,” Roque said.
“Naghahanap lang po ng ebidensiya ang Pangulo. Kahit sino naman po, kahit gaano kalapit sa kaniya, kahit gaano ang pagpuri niya sa nakaraan, kung mayroon naman pong ebidensiya ng katiwalian ay parurusahan ng ating Presidente,” he added.
Roque cited the case of former PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, who is facing administrative and criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman over alleged anomalies in the state insurer even as the President trusted him.
“Hindi naman po naging hadlang ang Presidente para imbestigahan at litisin si General Morales,” he said.
Also read: Ombudsman suspends 8 PhilHealth senior execs
Government-wide corruption probe spares no one – Palace
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced the five government agencies that the task force he will form would first look into whether there is corruption.
In an interview with “Dobol B on News TV” on Wednesday, the five agencies identified by Guevarra are:
- Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)
- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
- Bureau of Customs (BOC)
- Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
- Land Registration Authority (LRA)
Guevarra hopes they can release the results of the investigation in the coming months.
“We are hoping in the next couple of months we’ll be able to produce something as a sign that the task force is actually doing its job,” the Secretary said.
Through the DOJ task force, Duterte hopes that corruption will still be reduced before the end of his term in June 2022.
“Ayon doon sa memorandum na in-issue ng Presidente sa akin na i-consider ng task force ‘yung gravity o magnitude nu’ng anomalya o corrupt activity,” he said.