SECTIONS
Thursday, September 19, 2019
PAMPANGA

Pangan: It's about time

At Close Range

THE planned lifestyle government officials and employees should have been done way before so that the corruption issues involving them could have been identified and, if not altogether stopped, at least be minimized.

It was reported that a staggering P700 billion in revenues is lost due to corruption at all levels of the government bureaucracy.

It is so embedded in the system that even the supposedly respected Public Attorney's Office or PAO is not the subject of investigation due to the perceived corruption issues against Persida Acosta and Erwin Erfe, respectable heads of this office.

Reports have it that investigations will be done at the Bureau of Customs, the traditional nest of corruption, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Department of Public Works and Highways and other government agencies.

No less than President Duterte who expressed exasperation over his inability to curb corruption in government offices that he was intending to raise the flag of surrender over the issue.

The lifestyle checks should be led by the National Bureau of Investigation, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, the Civil Service Commission and other offices whose mandates principally include ferreting out corruption concerns.

The same should include local government unit officials who also have access to government funds through their Bids and Awards Committees which are capable of rigging bids to favor favorite contractors and suppliers.

The scope of the lifestyle checks should include dealings of the officials' relatives and their properties and bank accounts both here and overseas.

For a start, the probers could use as references the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs) required by law of the officials to submit them on time, bank accounts barring the bank secrecy law, assessors' records for their properties which are hidden under layers of names and claimants and massive inquiries in the subjects' neighborhoods.

***

Elucidate instead of obfuscate. President Duterte's statements in various fora are oftentimes conflicting and befuddling. They confuse, instead of clearing the issues. One such confusion involves the tacit approval of the policemen and military of accepting gifts given in consideration of acts done to the giver.

As a lawyer, he should be aware of existing laws which prohibit expressly the acceptance of gifts, rewards and compensation for acts or services done by the PNP members and the military.

One notices the propensity of the president to evade issues by issuing ambiguous statements. It does not reflect the good image of the presidency.


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