‘Duterte ax ready to fall on grafters’

President Rodrigo Duterte will act on the issue himself if the authorities find enough evidence, Malacañang said Monday following the investigation of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission of his three Cabinet members who are said to be involved in corrupt activities. 

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there were no sacred cows in the Duterte administration, but they would have to wait for the results of the PACC’s probe on the three officials.

“With regard to that, we will await findings, their recommendation, if there is enough evidence. Then the President will act on it,” Panelo told reporters.

“You violate the law, you are accountable.”

Panelo made his statement after PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna said they were investigating Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairman Leonor Oralde-Quintayo for corruption.

Luna said Lapeña was being investigated over the P11-billion shabu shipment that allegedly slipped past Customs through magnetic lifters, but he kept mum on the two other officials.

Panelo said the three officials would “definitely” remain in their posts while the investigation was ongoing, but added the President would not allow a “whiff of corruption.”

“When he said a ‘whiff of corruption,’ there’s already substantial grounds,” Panelo said. 

“The President orders an investigation right away. It doesn’t mean that they will be promptly sacked just because someone accused them. The President is not like that. He is a lawyer, remember.”

The PACC said the results and recommendations following the “confidential” investigation would be submitted to the President immediately.

To look into the allegations of excessive lifestyles, graft and corruption activities of his Cabinet members, Duterte created the PACC in 2017 through Executive Order 43.

The PACC is tasked to investigate graft and corruption of all Duterte appointees and to recommend punishment ranging from suspension to removal from office.

READ: PACC to hold fact-finding inquiry on shabu smuggling

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Presidential Anti-Crime Commission , Salvador Panelo , Manuelito Luna , Silvestre Bello III
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