Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.cpj.org)

President Rodrigo Duterte may form a separate task force to investigate the alleged corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) depending on the performance of the agency’s internal probe team.

“It’s not inconceivable that another task force of the DPWH may be formed by the President, in the same way that he formed one for the PhilHealth. But it really all depends on how this new task force will operate, if it is credible if it can hold individuals accountable for their acts,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Wednesday.

He stressed that Duterte remains steadfast in his commitment to cleanse government ranks within his term.

“We would prefer an independent body. But for now, let’s face it, in any organization we need to have mechanisms for internal accountability. Police has it, and I don’t see any reason why the DPWH shouldn’t have one, and that is why we are saying, it’s a step towards the right direction,” he said. “But this initial step is without prejudice to whatever the President may order in the near future.”

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, through Department Order No. 101 dated October 17, created the Task Force Against Graft and Corruption (TAG) that would look into the supposed corruption hounding the agency.

The TAG would investigate anomalies allegedly perpetrated by officials and/or employees of the DPWH, based on valid complaints.

Roque said Malacanang has “full faith and trust and confidence” in Villar and believes the latter has proven his skills in management.

“I think Secretary Villar has proven that he really is a management person and I believed he has the necessary resources and capability to make this task force work,” he said. 

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at brazen corruption in the DPWH, short of saying it is already common knowledge in the public and the agency itself.

Also, the Commission on Audit has uncovered 184 infrastructure projects undertaken by the DPWH exceeding their costs by P431.93 million. (pna.gov.ph)

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