QUEZON CITY -- The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) bolstered its crackdown on corrupt government officials, especially those that took advantage of the pandemic.
During "Ulat sa Bayan" virtual presser," PACC Chairman Dante LA. Jimenez said that they strengthened their efforts in carrying out President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's good governance and public accountability despite the pandemic.
"The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop nor hinder the efforts of the Commission in carrying out its mandate and acts of public service. In fact, it has reinforced the need to reach out to our countrymen through different platforms and new ideas to address the concerns of the Filipino people," said Chairman Jimenez.
The PACC's Ulat sa Bayan report provides the public and the local and international media their annual accomplishments in their campaign to put an end to different anomalies and corruptions within the government, including their ongoing investigations on the pandemic-related corruption cases, such as overpricing of COVID-19 testing packages and anomalies on Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
From October 2019 to September 2020, the PACC reported that they acted upon over 9,356 concerns and complaints, including SAP-related and regular endorsements.
The Commission said there are a total of 13 reports and recommendations transmitted to the Office of the President, which involves high-ranking appointees in the Executive branch, five cases for transmittal, and 22 ongoing cases for adjudication.
64 cases were also referred to the Office of the Ombudsman, including the PACC's Yolanda investigation which the Commission recommended filing of criminal charges against the former officials of National Housing Authority.
PACC's ongoing investigation of the alleged PhilHealth corruption
Part of the Commission's ongoing investigation, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, during this pandemic, includes alleged PhilHealth anomalies on overpriced COVID-19 testing packages, release of Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) Funds, overpriced IT projects amounting to P2.16 billion, and the PhilHealth common stock investment scam.
Since February 2019, PACC received information about PhilHealth's alleged failed policies, fraud, and other anomalies which led to losses estimated at around P153.7 billion from 2013 to 2019. In the same year, the Commission submitted its report to the Office of the President that all regular board members of PhilHealth must be replaced.
"As can be gleaned from the Senate investigations, it appears that corruption has been systemic from top to the bottom of the PhilHealth leadership and management," said Chairman Jimenez.
Currently, the PACC is cooperating with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for the lifestyle check on 17 government officials.
"When we see the importance na kailangan systematic (change), kailangan both aalisin mo 'yung corrupt na opisyal at papalitan mo 'yung corrupt na sistema [When we see the importance of a systematic (change), we need to get rid of corrupt officials and we need to change the corrupt system]," said PACC Commissioner Greco B. Belgica.
Totoo lang po, kung hindi ang Pangulong Duterte ang pangulo ay hindi magiging ganito ang laban sa korapsyon dahil nagbago ang sistema [Truth is, if President Duterte is not the president, our fight against corruption will not be like this because the system has changed]," he added (PIA NCR)