MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the Task Force Against Corruption (TFAC) will wait if the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission’s (PACC) report on lawmakers linked to anomalous government projects will be referred to the task force for validation.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte, in his taped speech on Monday night, named at least nine lawmakers who allegedly received kickbacks from contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) projects.
The legislators have since denied the allegations.
Guevarra said he has yet to see the PACC report whether its contents are sufficient for indictment, but it can be referred to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) TFAC.
“I’m not sure if the PACC report to the President is complete by itself. I have not seen it and is ready for filing with the Office of the Ombudsman. If not, the OP (Office of the President) may refer the report to the DOJ task force against corruption for validation, further investigation, or case build-up,” Guevarra said.
He said if the report is “complete”, the PACC may directly file it with the Office of the Ombudsman.
“I’ll wait for OP’s referral, if ever. If the PACC report is complete and is in proper form with supporting evidence, it may be filed directly with the Ombudsman,” he said.
Aside from lawmakers, Duterte also named a dozen of DPWH district engineers linked to the anomalous government projects.
PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica earlier said the presidential body against corruption did not specifically investigate members of Congress, but that their names cropped up in the course of the probe.
In a virtual Palace press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is nothing malicious about Duterte naming lawmakers.
Despite having named them, Roque said Duterte himself clarified that they are still under investigation and have not yet been proven guilty.
“There was nothing unfair, there was nothing malicious kasi inulit-ulit po ni Presidente, hindi pa naman sila proven guilty (because the President repeatedly said that they’re not yet proven guilty),” Roque said.
He denied claims that Duterte was subjecting the said lawmakers to trial by publicity.
“It’s not a trial by publicity dahil nilinaw po ni Presidente (because the President clarified) they have the presumption of innocence and these are people who are being investigated. So di naman sinasabi nagkasala na pero merong imbestigasyon ongoing sa mga ito (he didn’t say they’re already guilty but they are being investigated),” he added. (PNA)
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