MANILA — The so-called “mega” task force led by the Department of Justice assembled to investigate corruption in Philippine government has received at least 60 complaints in the past 2 weeks, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Saturday.
Most of those reported were about allegedly “corrupt” transactions at government agencies, with some involving million peso-projects, the secretary said.
“As reported by [Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar], the task force secretariat and operations center has received 60 complaints or reports, more or less, during the past two weeks,” said Guevarra in a text message.
The reports, according to Guevarra, referred to a “wide range” of government agencies, such as the regional or district offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Corrections, Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Office, Department of Health, PhilHealth, Land Registration Authority, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Bureau of Customs, APO, “and a lot of local government units.”
Because of the development, the DOJ wrote to other government agencies requesting them to launch internal anti-corruption measures where the task force could directly coordinate.
“Some of the complaints/reports pertain to relatively small transactions while others involve irregularities or projects worth hundreds of millions of pesos,” Guevarra said.
"The complaints/reports pertain to allegedly corrupt acts or transactions that happened under previous and current administrations."
The task force secretariat, he said, has started referring the complaints to an open evaluation committee “composed of experienced state prosecutors.”
A committee that the task force will soon create will determine which reports should be prioritized and be pursued by special investigation teams.
“The DOJ is exploring with the office of the ombudsman the matter of deputizing OMB senior investigating officers in selected govt agencies to be identified by the DOJ,” he said.
He said the department was attending to organizational and institutional arrangements to pave the way for a “smooth and systematic” actual investigation and prosecution in the coming months.
Villar announced on Nov. 5 that complaint may be sent to the task force secretariat via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through a hotline (8521-29-30).
In late October, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a memorandum directing the DOJ to look into anomalies at state agencies until the end of his term in 2022.
It gave the agency the power to decide what allegations to investigate and to work with other agencies.
The task force is also expected to investigate lawmakers, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. — With reports from Mike Navallo