MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order allowing the country’s chief executive to investigate directly any presidential appointee for corruption.
Duterte enacted this power through Executive Order No. 73, which amends the EO that created the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) in 2017.
The EO states: “nothing shall prevent the President, in the interest of service, from directly investigating and/or hearing an administrative case against any presidential appointee or authorizing other offices under the Office of the President to do the same, as well as from assuming jurisdiction at any stage of the proceedings over cases being investigated by the Commission.”
The amendment of the EO creating the PACC also expanded the jurisdiction, powers, and functions of the PACC.
With the new EO, the PACC has been tasked to recommend to the Anti-Red Tape Authority, for investigation, violations of the Anti-Red Tape Act.
The PACC is also now ordered to recommend to the President the filing of appropriate criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice “after due investigation.”
Originally, the PACC was given 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 previous EO also gave the power to investigate presidential appointees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, as well conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or omissions of all presidential appointees.
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 may also recommend to the President the preventive suspension of an official upon the filing of a complaint or charge.