Palace hands off probe of 3 cabinet men

January 07, 2019
Salvador Panelo

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission looking into charges against Labor, TESDA, NCIP chiefs.

MALACAÑANG yesterday said the investigation of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) of three Cabinet members will take its course.

PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna earlier said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, former Bureau of Customs Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Isidro Lapeña and National Commission on Indigenous People Chairman Leonor Oralde-Quintayo were being investigated by the commission.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace will wait for the result of the investigation of the commission.

“If there’s evidence, then the President will act on it,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Panelo stressed there are no “sacred cows" in government.

“If you violate the law, regardless of your status, whether you are a friend, ally or political adversary, a relative or a fraternity brother… you are accountable," he said.

President Duterte won on a platform of eradicating corruption in government and crime. His critics, however, said he seems to spare his close allies accused of corruption, even as he has fired many of his appointees on a “whiff of corruption.”

“Unang-una is the Dole Secretary Bello III na alam na ng publiko na mayroong inihaing kaso sa amin at ito ay binigyan natin ng karampatang aksyon…  After that, we have an ongoing investigation also on former Commissioner of Customs, si Secretary Isidro Lapeña na ngayon ay Secretary na ng Tesda, tungkol sa magnetic lifters… Pangatlo, ‘yung chairman ng NCIP, si Atty. Quintayo,” Luna said.

Luna said allegations of corruption were brought to their office in 2018 which prompted them to open an investigation of the Cabinet members. He assured the Cabinet members they will be given due process and are allowed to answer the allegations against them.

“We are not saying they are already guilty kaya nga iniimbestigahan para malaman natin kung totoo o hindi (yung allegations),” Luna said.

“But all of them will be given due process. Bibigyan sila ng tsansa, ng pagkakataon para ibigay yung kanilang side sa issues na binring against them,” he added.

The PACC commissioner said they cannot yet divulge other information regarding their investigation.

“Mayroon na kaming preliminary findings pero hindi namin pwedeng i-divulge because this is for the President’s consideration so confidential po siya,” he said.

After the investigation, the PACC will submit their recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ang ating Pangulong Duterte ang bahala kung ano ang gagawin niya sa aming mga recommendation,” Luna said.