Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday said the House of Representatives will take a hands-off stance on President Duterte’s order for the conduct of an investigation into graft and corruption in the government, especially if congressmen are the subject of the probe.
Velasco made this statement as he declared that the Lower Chamber wholeheartedly supports Duterte’s bid to weed out government of corrupt personnel and officials.
“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,” explained Velasco.
The newly installed House leader stressed that the chamber acknowledges Duterte’s objective and will be behind him in cleansing all institutions of the 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,” said Velasco in a statement.
He 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.”
The claim of involvement of congressmen came from the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission under Commissioner Greco Belgica and Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Refusing to name names, Belgica claimed certain lawmakers are behind anomalous infrastructure projects by conspiring with corrupt officials of the DPWH.
This prompted Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Mike Defensor to caution Belgica against airing “blanket accusation” that might unfairly implicate the innocent among congressmen.
Belgica reportedly cited a Commission on Audit report to back his accusation that congressmen have been influencing district engineers to choose contractors who will be assigned to implement infrastructure projects proposed by the lawmakers.
But as Belgica aired the accusation, he also admitted that investigating corrupt activities will need “a different body like the Ombudsman” to carry out.