MANILA — The decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to abolish the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission earned both praise and a warning, with the former PACC chief saying the move could lead to more corruption.
Marcos on Thursday ordered PACC's dissolution and transfer its powers and responsibilities to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs (DESLA). The PACC was created in 2017 under the Duterte administration to fight corruption in government agencies.
"It was a big surprise because the office was created primarily to help the president fight and stop corruption," ex-PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica told ANC.
He added that the PACC's creation led to higher government revenues and warned that abolishing it could lead to an increase in corruption cases.
For one thing, he said the DESLA would have to take on all the cases handled by the PACC despite no increase in manpower.
"Ang ano ko lang diyan pag natambakan ng kaso [ang DESLA], kapag natambakan ng kaso, hindi nare-resolve ang kaso, hindi alam ng tao ang nangyayari, lalong lalala ang korapsyon kasi walang napaparusahan, natitigil, hindi alam ang nangyayari so lalala ang korapsyon."
(For me, when the cases pile up, no one would know what is happening most especially on corruption issues. When people are unaware of it, corruption will proliferate because nobody gets punished.)
Marcos, he noted, should have streamlined instead economic and trade-related agencies to address red tape.
"It was the stronger fight against corruption that led to more revenues of government. The bigger the corruption, the stronger the corruption in the government, the less revenue and less services it can deliver to the people," said Belgica.
ANALYST: PACC A 'SUPERFLUOUS' AGENCY
On the other hand, political analyst Tony La Viña said Marcos made the right move to abolish the PACC given its redundant purpose.
La Viña said the Ombudsman, the Civil Service Commission, and the President's prerogative to create new bodies as he deemed fit, have the mandate to fight corruption inside government.
"It is actually a superfluous body... So the Commission, I agree with that decision because I always thought, ever since, that it is a body to just throw things to whenever there is a scandal," he explained.
Marcos earlier said he would fight the "corrosive" influence of corruption in government starting with the starting with the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The BIR, the Chief Executive noted, has to make all its processes "more efficient" and make the public understand the tax structure. Meanwhile, equipment and ports should be upgraded to raise the collections of the customs bureau.