While it is a good move for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to initiate and conduct a probe the corruption in its turf, Malacañang said it would prefer an independent body to conduct the investigation on the alleged irregularities in the agency.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the DPWH formed a task force to probe the supposed corruption activities in the agency that President Duterte has been pointing out since last week.

roque 1 1024x683 - Palace prefers probe of DPWH ‘corruption’ by independent body
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.
(YANCY LIM / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Roque said that the DPWH was heading toward the right direction in cleaning its ranks. However, he acknowledged that not everybody will trust that their task force will make an impartial investigation.

He added that it would be better if another body outside of the agency will conduct the probe.

“I think that’s a good beginning but as you’ve observed, many people doubt if it can succeed because it’s the same people investigating one another,” he told “The Source” on Wednesday.

“We would prefer an independent body, but for now let’s face it,” he added.

On the other hand, Roque said the DPWH had the right to form a task force to fish out the corrupt people in the agency.

“In any organization, you need to have a mechanism for internal accountability. Police have it, I don’t see any reason why the DPWH should not have one,” he said.

“That’s why we say it’s a step towards the right direction,” he added.

The Palace official likewise said that President Duterte is confident that DPWH Secretary Mark Villar will be able to make the task force work. Duterte had shielded Villar from the corruption allegations, saying the latter belongs to a family that has been well-recognized in the business sector even before he was tapped to serve in the government.

“We have full faith and trust and confidence in Secretary Villar. I think Secretary Villar has proven that he really is a management person,” Roque said.

” I believe he has the necessary resources and capability to make this task force work,” he added.

Despite this, Roque said that the President may still change his mind and order another body to look into the corruption in DPWH.

“This initial step is without prejudice to whatever the President may order in the near future,” he said.

“It’s not inconceivable that another task force of the DPWH may be formed by the President in the same way that he formed one for the PhilHealth,” he added.

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