'Sana walang sacred cows': Lawyer welcomes mega task force vs corruption

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2020 03:21 PM

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on October 26, 2020. Arman Baylon, Presidential Photo

MANILA - A lawyer on Wednesday said the Department of Justice-led mega task force against corruption is a welcome development.

“Mas mabuti pa yan kaysa magpa-file ng false charges, red- tagging, mga kalokohang charges. Nawe-waste lang ng oras nila doon. Ito, napakahalagang problema,” said Constitutional law professor Antonio La Viña.

(It’s better than filing false charges, red-tagging, charges that waste time. This is an important problem.)

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a memorandum directing the DOJ to look into anomalies in state agencies until the end of his term in 2022. It gives the DOJ the power to decide what allegations to investigate and to work with other agencies.

“I welcome this prioritization ni Pangulong Duterte sa corruption kasi matindi talaga sa alam ko,” La Viña said on ABS-CBN"s TeleRadyo.

(I welcome this prioritization of President Duterte because corruption is really rampant.)

The president’s 6-year term will end in 2022.

“Better late than never. Sana ito na lang muna gawin nila. Mag-focus sila dito at magkaroon tayo ng malalaking isda,” La Viña said.

(Let’s hope that they focus on this one and catch big fish.)

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday the DOJ has identified 5 state agencies it would likely prioritize to investigate for alleged corruption following Duterte's order.

These are the embattled state insurer PhilHealth, the "usual suspects" Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Registration Authority, and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

“Sana, this time wala na tayong sacred cows. Kung bakit may corruption, dahil 'yan may impunity because it pays to be corrupt in this country,” La Viña said.

He also suggested that the task force keep a short of list of people to be investigated and it should go after “mega people”.

“Wag yung pipitsugin, maliliit na tao, mga employee lang. Palaging 100 persons lang hahabulin mo, yung top 100 officials lang in your list. If they have that list, effective yung prosecution,” he said.

(They should go after the big fish. Always limit the list to 100 people, go after the top 100 people in your list. If they have that list, then the prosecution is effective.) 

Guevara had said that the President's pronouncements of trust does not exonerate government officials.

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For La Viña, the President should not reappoint people he already removed from office.

“Pinakamahalaga talaga, follow up with charges. 'Yan ang ‘di natin nagagawa. Ang dami-dami nating iskandalo, pero bihira lang talaga na napapatuloy ang charges,” he said.

(Most importantly, follow up with charges. That is something that we fail to do. We have many scandals, but rarely see people charged.)

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