MANILA - The Department of Justice said Wednesday it has identified 5 state agencies it would likely prioritize to investigate for alleged corruption following President Rodrigo Duterte's order.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said these include embattled state insurer PhilHealth, the "usual suspects" Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Registration Authority, and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The DOJ earlier formed a task force to probe PhilHealth over alleged corruption. Its investigation into the insurer's information technology and legal sector has yet to finish, Guevarra said.
The agency will form another task force composed of the same members to help look into state departments, he added.
"I think within the term ng (of the) President may ipapakita tayong resulta sa taumbayan (we can present results to the public)," Guevarra told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
Lawmakers and members of other government branches will be investigated if they are involved in criminals or corrupt acts with the executive department, Guevarra said.
"Natural dahil kung 'yun ay incidental to the investigation of an executive agency kung may part sa isang criminal act, di naman natin tinitingnan kung siya ay miyembro ng Kongreso, hudikatura o executive department," he said.
(If their involvement is incidental to the investigation of an executive agency, if they were part of a criminal act, we do not look at them as a member of Congress, judiciary or executive department.)
"Sama-sama 'yan because it’s a criminal act, the corrupt act na tinitingnan natin. Kung may ebidensiya ng kanilang involvement, direct o indirect, ay kasama sila."
(They're all included because we look at the criminal act, the corrupt act. If there's evidence of their involvement, direct o indirect, they are included."
The President's pronouncements of trust does not exonerate government officials, Guevarra added.
"I have always viewed that as an expression merely of trust in the person. Ganun ang kaniyang tiwala sa mga taong ito (That's how much he trusts these people). It’s merely an expression of trust but it’s not an expression of exoneration," he said.
"I don’t think simply because he has expressed trust in a certain person eh babalewalain niya kung ang ebidensiya na nagpapakita ng involvement ay glaring (he will neglect glaring evidence showing the person's involvement)."
The DOJ will also conduct lifestyle checks and make use of Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth in its investigations, Guevarra said.
"'Di siya conclusive pero makakatulong 'yan eh (It's not conclusive but it will help)," he said, citing the case of an Immigration security guard who had P10 million net worth.
The Ombudsman earlier restricted access to officials' SALN, allowing their release only for official investigations, by court order, or upon authority from officials themselves.