PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chairperson Dante Jimenez as chair of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

Malacañang on Monday, January 15, released Jimenez's appointment papers signed by Duterte on January 12.

Apart from Jimenez, Duterte also tapped Gregorio Luis Contacto III, Greco Antonious Beda Belgica, and Rickson Chong as commissioners of PACC.

The PACC, which is formed through Executive Order (EO) 43 inked on October 4, 2017, is tasked to investigate administrative cases against individuals belonging to all branches of government.

The commission was created following Duterte's earlier intent to investigate the Ombudsman's office for alleged rampant extortion activities to dismiss complaints filed against various individuals.

Duterte vested the fact-finding body with power, on complaints or motu proprio (on his own impulse), concurrently with the Office of the Ombudsman “to hear, investigate, receive, gather, and evaluate evidence, intelligence reports, and information in administrative cases against all presidential appointeees in the executive branch.”

The commission, upon Duterte’s instruction, may investigate presidential appointees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police “whenever he deems it necessary or appropriate.”

Under EO 43, Duterte may also direct the commission to conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding investigations against employees in the executive, judiciary, or legislative branches who may have violated the Constitution.

The PACC also has the authority to administer oaths and issue subpoena ad testificandum and duces tecum.

To protect his right to a fair and impartial investigation of the case, it is not allowed to divulge any record or information, in connection with any investigation concerning the respondents.

Should they disclose any information related to an administrative case against an individual, the commission has to ensure that they would be "balanced, fair, and accurate."

Upon the completion of investigation, the fact-finding body can submit its report and recommendations directly to the President for approval and final disposition.

The commission may also refer any case for appropriate action to the Office of the Ombudsman, or deputize any other office, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, to conduct an investigation. (SunStar Philippines)