2 Cabinet members facing corruption probe: Belgica

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 12:39 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2019 03:46 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-corruption body is investigating 2 members of his Cabinet over alleged corruption, a commissioner of the task force said Wednesday.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) commissioner Greco Belgica said the investigation against the 2 officials started in February this year and was expected to be completed by October. He did not name the officials.

The officials are "incumbent," of "Cabinet rank" and are "responsive (sumasagot)" to the commission, Belgica said.

One of the complaints was filed by an official from the Cabinet member’s department while the other protest was lodged by a private citizen, Belgica said.

"There was a complaint filed so we have to investigate," he said.

After the investigation, Belgica said the PACC would submit its findings to the President. It could also file a case before the Ombudsman if necessary.

Malacañang said it would wait for the PACC’s final report and recommendation on the matter.

Asked whether Duterte is aware of the ongoing investigation, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the chief executive “doesn’t have to.”

“He (Duterte) doesn’t have to be aware. When the investigation is done, that’s the time he will decide on its recommendation. He doesn’t interfere with the work of the PACC,” Panelo said.

Duterte earlier said he would not tolerate even a “whiff” of corruption from any government employee.

Belgica, meanwhile, lauded Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and former Agriculture Secretary and now Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Manny Piñol for volunteering to a PACC lifestyle check.

Piñol was subjected to a lifestyle check last year in light of allegations that he pocketed money from rice importation deals when he assumed the leadership of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council.

The PACC cleared him earlier this year after it found no evidence to support allegations of unexplained wealth.