PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) 73, which boosts the role of a presidential anti-corruption body in the current administration's crackdown on corruption in government.
EO 73, signed by Duterte on December 28, 2018, now allows the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to recommend to Duterte the filing of appropriate criminal complaints against erring government officials before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The PACC has also been given the authority to refer criminal cases for appropriate actions to the anti-graft body or the DOJ.
Created under EO 43 signed in 2017, the PACC is mandated to directly assist Duterte in investigating or hearing administrative cases against presidential appointees accused of being involved in corruption.
"Presidential appointees come under the direct disciplining authority of the President and this proceeds from the well-settled principle that unless otherwise provided by the Constitution and existing laws, the power to appiint carries with it the power to discipline and remove public officials and employees," EO 73 read.
The new EO gives the PACC the power to recommend to the Anti-Red Tape Authority, an investigation into violations of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.
The PACC can also perform other functions or duties as may be designated by the President.
EO 73 emphasizes that Duterte cannot be barred from conducting an investigation or hearing an administrative case against erring public officials.
"Nothing shall prevent the President, in the interest of the service, from directly investigating and/or hearing an administrative case against any presidential appointee or authorizing other offices under the Office of the President to do the same, as well as from assuming jurisdiction at any stage of the proceedings over cases being investigated by the commission," it said.
A copy of EO 73 was made public by Malacañang on Friday, January 11.
The EO was released days after the PACC revealed that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Isidro Lapeña, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples chair Leonor Quintayo are under investigation.
An investigation is also being conducted on the Labor, Finance and Public Works departments.
On January 7, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured the public that there are "no sacred cows" in the Duterte administration.
The assurance came after the PACC began its investigation against three Cabinet officials and the three other government offices. (SunStar Philippines)