Malacañang said that an investigation on corruption activities at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) may take place after President Duterte claimed that corruption is still rampant in the agency.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte claimed Wednesday that there is corruption in DPWH but was unable to name the officials benefitting from it.
In his Thursday presser, Roque said that the President may order an investigation on the matter like what he did with PhilHealth.
“Posibleng gawin po ‘yan dahil hayaan na po muna natin ‘yan dahil sa ngayon po nakatutok pa sa PhilHealth ang Presidente (That’s possible but let’s set that aside for now because the President is still focused on the issue of PhilHealth),” he said.
Roque said that Duterte made the statement to stress that he will not take corruption lightly.
“Hina-highlight lang naman talaga ni Presidente ‘yung paghamon sa natitirang panahon ng kanyang termino (The President just highlighted the challenges in his remaining years in office),” he said.
“Ang pangako naman po ng Presidente, igugugol niya talaga itong natitirang panahon para labanan ang korapsyon sa lahat ng departamento ng gobyerno, lalong-lalo na po siguro sa PhilHealth at sa DPWH (The President promised us that he will focus on his fight against corruption in government particularly in PhilHealth and DPWH),” he added.
Despite this, the Palace official said that Duterte still trusts DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.
“Full trust and confidence po kay Secretary Villar dahil despite the corruption in DPWH, naka-deliver po si Secretary Villar (President Duterte still has full trust and confidence on Secretary Villar because despite the corruption in DPWH, the latter is still able to deliver),” Roque said.
“It helps na mas marami pang pera ang pamilya ni Secretary Villar kesa sa DPWH (It helps that Secretary Villar’s family has more money than the entire DPWH),” he added.
The DPWH recently completed the construction of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 project, which links the northern and southern portions of Metro Manila.
Senators have questioned DPWH’s proposed “lump-sum-riddled” budget for 2021, citing the P345.25-billion in lump-sum appropriations lodged under the agency’s central office.
DPWH is proposing a P667-billion budget for 2021, a 52 percent increase from this year’s.