No prosecutions recommended yet in corruption task force report to Duterte

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2021 05:00 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2021 06:37 PM

ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Government's task force against corruption has submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte its progress report, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday, more than 2 months after the body was created.

No details were given yet as to the contents of the report, which was submitted on Dec. 28, 2020, Guevarra said. It does not contain recommendations for prosecution, he added.

“Wala pa sa stage na iyon (It's not yet at that stage). Fact-finding pa lang (We're still on fact-finding) and verification of the allegations in the complaints. Some of them may be politically motivated,” he said.

As of January 11, he said the task force has received a total of 144 complaints, of which 60 have been evaluated, mostly involving alleged anomalies in public works projects in the regions.

A few of these investigations include:

  • Alleged massive corruption at the first district engineering office in Northern Samar
  • Alleged ghost deliveries of rice and fuel in Capalonga, Camarines Norte
  • Alleged anomalous procurement of heavy equipment and illegal disbursement of bayanihan funds in Cateel, Davao Oriental
  • Alleged irregular bidding, bribery, and extortion at the third district engineering office in Cagayan

The task force is also looking into alleged anomalous construction of 2 bridges in the same location in General Santos City, and those identified in a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. 

“The amount of funds involved ranges from a few million pesos to hundreds of million pesos. Depende sa (It depends on the) subject matter of the complaint. If the amount involved is P500 million or more, the TFAC will create a special investigating team composed of representatives from the member-agencies,” Guevarra said.

The justice chief disclosed the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission has offered to turn over the results of its probe on corruption in public works projects where certain House lawmakers were implicated, “for further investigation and case build-up.” 

The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability has also offered to help in investigations where legislative action may be needed, Guevarra said.

Duterte, in a speech in October, announced the creation of a mega-task force to combat persistent corruption in government.

The DOJ was tasked to head the inter-agency task force.