DOJ to probe agencies media has exposed

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ASIDE from tips coming from civilian informants, the Department of Justice which leads the mega task force against corruption, will also be digging into news articles exposing corruption in the government, says its spokesperson Undersecretary Emmeline Villar.

However, they may not be able to commence on it until after the agency gets to finalize procedure on how to receive and process reports on wrongdoing from the public.

“Sa ngayon, ang Secretary of Justice nagbigay ng direktiba sa secretariat na mag-organisa muna, ‘yun ang unang step para makausad na itong mega task force para mabigyan din namin ng direksiyon ang publiko kung saan magre-report,” said Villar, who incidentally is the wife of a top official of another department under their radar.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the DOJ to investigate the entire government for corruption until the end of his term in 2022. The order gives the DOJ the power to decide what allegations to investigate and to work with other agencies.

The DOJ has identified embattled state insurer PhilHealth, the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Registration Authority, and the Department of Public Works and Highways as the state agencies it would likely prioritize to investigate.

“Titingnan na din po ng secretariat o operations center ang mga existing COA (Commission on Audit) reports at mga investigative pieces na nagawa ng media in the past tungkol sa mga alegasyon ng korapsiyon at ‘yun po muna ang uunahing tingnan ng operation center o secretariat ng task force para malaman kung ano ‘yung mga uunahin naming iimbestigahan,” Villar said at the Laging Handa virtual press briefing.

On issues hounding the DPWH headed by her husband, Secretary Mark Villar, she said:

“Ako ang tagapagsalita kaya po kunwari may katanungan tugkol sa DPWH, iba na lang po siguro ang sasagot ng mga katanungan na ‘yun kung sakaling umusad na yung imbestigasyon,” she said.

Meanwhile, Villar said the public can send tips, complaints and other information related to corruption activities in government. They could also be called in as witnesses should a case be filed against the subject of their complaint.

She added that complainants who fear for their safety can avail of the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in an earlier report that lawmakers and members of other government branches will be investigated along with the executive department if they are involved in criminal or corrupt acts.

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