The directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra to investigate allegations of corruption in the government is most welcome. Secretary Guevarra is an intelligent and decent public servant who is well-respected by his peers and colleagues.
The DOJ has been a long-standing partner of the Office in its drive against corruption. It will be recalled that the DOJ and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) played a pivotal role in the investigation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam that resulted into the Ombudsman’s swift action in resolving these cases. More recently, the DOJ filed a complaint with the Office, supporting the Ombudsman’s independent probe, which resulted into the issuance of the preventive suspension order against top officials of the Philhealth. Both the Ombudsman and the DOJ are members of the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC), a multi-agency partnership established in 1999 as a voluntary alliance of government agencies to formulate and develop concerted techniques and strategies in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of graft cases. Several partnership agreements have also been forged between the two agencies to ensure the prompt handling and speedy disposition of cases.
Given this partnership, there is absolutely no basis to detract or underestimate the laudable objectives of the President in creating the DOJ mega task force. In any case, investigations conducted by the DOJ involving complaints of corruption are subject to the evaluation of the Ombudsman.
As an independent constitutional body, the Ombudsman assures the public that it will continue to conduct in-depth parallel investigations as to alleged anomalies in the government despite this Office’s limited manpower and the ongoing reorganization to strengthen the bureaus undertaking investigative functions. ###
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