President Rodrigo Duterte has created a commission that will investigate the alleged corruption activities in government.
Duterte signed on October 4 Executive Order (EO) 43 creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which is mandated to directly assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and corruption against presidential appointees.
“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,” Duterte said in his order.
“The administration has a continuing mandate to fight and eradicate graft and corruption in the different departments, bureaus, offices and other government agencies and instrumentalities, as well as an advocacy to ensure that public officials and employees in all branches of government conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the public trust,” he added.
The new commission will be composed of a chairman and four commissioners to be appointed by the President. Majority of the members of the commission must be lawyers who have been in practice for at least five years.
The EO stated that the commission shall “have the power, on complaint or motu proprio (on its own), 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 occupying the position of assistant regional director or an equivalent rank and higher.”
The commission may also investigate presidential appointees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
It may also conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or omissions of all presidential appointees, including those outside the Executive branch of government.
The commission also has the power to tap law enforcement agencies and make recommendations to place witnesses under the justice department’s Witness Protection Program.
The commission was created a week after Duterte vowed to form a body that will investigate alleged corruption at the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent agency primarily tasked to probe corruption allegations against public officials.