Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said he is considering having several “strike forces” that will investigate corruption-prone government agencies.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra 1024x683 - Guevarra mulls forming ‘strike forces’ to probe corruption-prone gov’t agencies
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra
(TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Tentatively, I am thinking of creating several strike forces that will simultaneously attack various corruption-prone agencies,” Guevarra told reporters .

The secretary bared this plan after President Duterte issued a memorandum to Guevarra directing him to expand the role of the task force which investigated anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to investigate corruption in the entire government.

Duterte said the order remains in effect until the end of his term on June 30, 2022 or until it is revoked.

Guevarra said “the first order of the day is to organize the main task force and determine the overall strategy.”

“Apart from my usual responsibilities as SOJ (secretary of justice), this new assignment is the toughest i have ever received from the President,” Guevarra admitted.

“I will need all the support and cooperation of the entire government machinery to achieve this singular objective of substantially reducing corruption in government,” he said.

Considering the breadth of this anti-corruption campaign, the secretary said he intends to “immediately focus on the organizational set-up and mechanism that will carry out the president’s directive until the end of his term, as well as the order of priorities.”

“It will help us a lot if government workers themselves and the people they deal with will come forward and provide us the necessary information to uncover corrupt activities and identify the perpetrators thereof,” he said.

“The new and expanded anti-corruption task force will take it from there,” he added.

Guevarra formed Task Force PhilHealth on Aug. 7 pursuant to the directive of the President to investigate corruption at the health state insurer.

The investigation resulted in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filing before the Office of the Ombudsman last Oct. 1 a criminal complaint against 10 former and current PhilHealth officials concerning the implementation of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM). More complaints are expected to be filed.

Aside from the NBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the task force is composed of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the National Prosecution Service (NPS), the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (OOC),  and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

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