Thursday, June 27, 2019
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Philippine president expands powers of anti-graft commission

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 73 amending the mandate of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Friday evening, to allow it to investigate alleged government corruption.
The amendments allow the PACC to recommend the filing of charges by the Ombudsman against officials they find to have committed corruption, when previously the PACC could only refer cases.
They are also mandated to look into officials who violate the Anti-Red Tape Law.
The EO also allows the president to assume jurisdiction “at any stage of the process.”
It also add that, “Upon the instructions of the president, the Commission may investigate presidential appointees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police whenever he deems it necessary or appropriate.”
The PACC, currently headed by Dante Jimenez, and has clashed with at least three appointees recently.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III accused the PACC of preempting its investigation, accusing him of alleged extortion, and releasing the details of the investigation ahead of time. Aside from Bello, former Bureau of Customs commissioner and now Technical Skills Development Authority chief Isidro Lapeña and National Commission on Indigenous People Chairman Leonor Oralde-Quintayo are also subjects of investigations.
The PACC was created in 2017 through Executive Order No. 43 which tasks the commission to look into allegations of excessive lifestyles and graft and corruption activities, and then recommend punishment against those officials which could range from suspension to removal from office.

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