President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) No. 73 giving the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) more teeth in probing erring officials from the Executive Branch.
Signed on 28 December 2018 and made public on Friday, 11 January, EO No. 73 amends EO No. 43 (series of 2017) which created the PACC. The agency asked Duterte for an expanded jurisdiction and prosecutorial powers,
Under the new order, the PACC is now tasked to recommend the filing of criminal complaints, after “due investigation,” against officials found guilty of corrupt practices before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Previously, the PACC can only refer a case to the anti-graft court and only when it “deems necessary.”
Another new task of the agency is to probe government officials who cause undue delays and commit bureaucratic red tape. It can recommend to the Anti-Red Tape Authority the investigation on any official deemed violating Republic Act (RA) No. 9485, also known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.
Upon instructions of the President, the PACC may probe presidential appointees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) “whenever he deems it necessary or appropriate.”
Under the order, Duterte has the power to step in during the course of any investigation on any official and do the investigation himself.
“The preceding paragraphs notwithstanding, 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,” the EO read.
Established in 2017, the PACC operates under the Office of the President and is made up of its chairman, Dante Jimenez, and four commissioners.