MANILA - Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) commissioner Greco Belgica said Saturday the agency won't name lawmakers under investigation for alleged involvement in corruption at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), saying this would "compromise" the probe.
This, as Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor challenged him to reveal those involved after he earlier bared that some lawmakers were in cahoots with DPWH personnel in alleged corrupt practices.
"I don't want to do blind items or make a bulletin board or noise board of our investigation dahil kung sasabihin ko kung sino ang iimbestigahan bago ang inquiry or sino ang suspects, para ko pong sinabi doon sa huhulihin na huhulihin siya and that will compromise the investigation," Belgica said in a press briefing.
(If I were to say who is being investigated before the inquiry or who the suspects are, it's like telling the suspect that I will arrest them and that will compromise the investigation.)
Senators earlier flagged around P345.25-billion in lump sum inserted in the DPWH's proposed 2021 budget, with lawmakers and officials of the department said to be asking for "kickbacks" from contractors that win projects from the agency.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier spoke about alleged corruption at the DPWH, said he planned to create a separate task force to stamp out alleged corruption in the agency. Belgica said the National Bureau of Investigation or Office of the Ombudsman will conduct the investigation, citing PACC's limitations.
"Ang PACC is limited to presidential appointees it needs a different body like the NBI or Ombudsman to conduct the investigation," Belgica said, while saying the agency was only limited to gathering information.
The President earlier formed a task force to investigate alleged corruption at state health insurer PhilHealth, which led to recommendations to prosecute several former and current officials.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar earlier created a task force made up of 5 officials to probe fellow executives and employees at the agency, which handles billions in public funds for major infrastructure projects. He had also vowed to stop corruption in the agency.