MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered an audit of projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to determine whether or not there are so-called “ghost projects” within the agency.
In his public address, Duterte said the ghost projects are being used for corrupt practices in the DPWH, noting that such irregularities are “shortchanging” the government.
“The best way is to conduct an audit of those projects to determine if they are ghost projects or not, and I think they are plenty,” he said.
He advised the public officials linked in the supposed anomalous projects to vacate their posts immediately.
“For the longest time, wala masyadong imbestigasyon diyan, pero kayong may kasalanan diyan sa mga gano’n, I advise you to resign now (For the longest time, there’s not much investigation about that, but those who have erred, I advise you to resign now),” he said. “Resign now kasi pagdating ng panahon… makita ninyo, you’ll be prosecuted administratively and criminally at walang patawaran dito (Resign now, because when the time comes… you’ll see [that] you’ll be prosecuted administratively and criminally and there would be no impunity),” he said.
Duterte earlier ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to form a task force to investigate allegations of corruption “in the entire government” with a special focus on the DPWH.
He said the DOJ may also prosecute and file appropriate charges against those involved in anomalies investigated.
However, he also warned dishonest officials that resigning would not prevent them from facing administrative or criminal charges.
The mega task force, headed by the DOJ, is composed of the National Bureau of Investigation, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Special Assistant to the President, National Prosecution Service, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
DOJ will also invite the Commission on Audit, the Civil Service Commission, and the Office of the Ombudsman to work together with the Task Force, with due consideration for their independence as constitutional bodies. Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA – northboundasia.com