QUEZON CITY – Are some members of the House of Representatives involved in graft and corrupt practices?
This appears so if the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is to be the gauge.
PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica told media at least 12 incumbent congressmen allegedly received kickbacks from the government’s public works projects, with some receiving up to 15 percent of the budget for infra projects.
Commissioner Belgica revealed that a lawmaker allegedly received a P10-million payola after a project contractor came to their office to report the incident.
“May isang proyekto na P100 million. Hinihingan daw siya. Hindi daw siya papasukin sa distrito na ‘yun pagka hindi siya nakipag-ayos,” he said.
Some congressmen are allegedly pocketing from 5 to 15 percent of the budget of government infrastructure projects, Belgica added. The PACC was also able to gather evidence that could implicate the involved lawmakers.
Belgica, however, offered no evidence to support his allegation. Meron tayong mga hawak pero kailangan itong imbestigahan at patibayan… Trabaho namin is to put a solid case that will stand in court,” he said.
This prompted Rep. Michael Defensor to dare Belgica to “name names” of those lawmakers allegedly involved in corruption.
Belgica said the list had been submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, which would be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman.
At the House, the Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, otherwise known as the House Blue Ribbon Committee, Rep.Michael Aglipay, met with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara, to manifest support in the drive of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against corruption, as mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier, it was gathered at least 12 congressmen maybe facing investigation for alleged corruption.
During the meeting, Aglipay said that the House Blue Ribbon Committee is ready to work with the DOJ Task Force Against Corruption (TFAG), given the President’s directive to investigate all forms of corruption until the end of his term on June 2022.
It was discussed that the DOJ has received numerous complaints and is in the process filtering these for appropriate action.
Aglipay stated that the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, is one with the DOJ in its crusade against corruption.
Speaker Velasco earlier said the House of Representatives fully supports President Duterte’s directive for the conduct of a large-scale investigation into allegations of corruption in the entire government.
“We fully understand that the President is doing this out of his frustration over chronic corruption in government, and the House leadership is one with him in his desire to rid the bureaucracy of corrupt officials and employees in the remainder of his term,” Velasco said.
Velasco added: “It is also important to note that the President issued the directive following incessant attacks against the House due to alleged involvement of some of its members in corruption activities in the Department of Public Works and Highways.”
“While we are saddened that some congressmen and the institution have been dragged into this controversy, we welcome such probe by any government agency, as an investigation by the House would be self-serving and would only create a cloud of doubt,” he said.