DPWH chief Villar to face probe if evidence warrants, says wife

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2020 10:29 AM | Updated as of Oct 29 2020 10:44 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte drives through the Candon City Bypass Road in Ilocos Sur during its inauguration on July 25, 2019 with Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar. Simeon Celi Jr., Presidential Photo

MANILA - Public Works Secretary Mark Villar will be investigated if evidence warrants as "no one is exempt" from President Rodrigo Duterte's order to rid government of corruption, the Department of Justice said Thursday.

Duterte earlier said he had "nothing against" Villar, who he said was "one of the hardworking" officials with "many" accomplishments.

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The President, however, was only "expressing his trust and confidence" on Villar, said his wife DOJ Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar.

"He also said in his memo all government officials and employees are included in the investigation which means no one is exempt," she told ANC's Headstart.

"Yes, because that’s what the President also said in his memo, that all government officials and employees are included and if evidence warrants a case to be filed against them we would do so," she said when asked if Villar would be investigated.

Duterte had ordered a probe into alleged corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways, which he and some senators earlier flagged.

It is among 5 agencies that the DOJ identified it would likely prioritize in its corruption investigation.

The agencies selected "depending on the gravity of allegations of corruption as well as delivery of service to the public," Aglipay-Villar said.

"It doesn’t mean we will not investigate other agencies," she said.

"It depends where there are allegations of corruption, if there are none we will focus on those where there are allegations of corruption," she added when asked if the Office of the President would be included.

She added that the remaining months under Duterte's term would be "substantial time in order to create a dent in the problem of corruption," citing DOJ's findings in embattled state insurer PhilHealth.

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