Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra met with National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Officer-In-Charge Director Eric Distor and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento on Tuesday to discuss how the task force led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) can proceed with investigating the entire government for corruption.

guevarra - Guevarra meets with NBI chief, prosecutor general on corruption probe of entire gov’t
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)

“It was agreed during the said meeting that the Core Group constituted for the Task Force to investigate allegations of corruption in the Philhealth will be the same Core Group for the Task Force to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire government,” the DOJ said in a statement.

The task force was formed by Guevarra back in Aug. 7 pursuant to the directive of President Duterte to investigate the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for corrupt activities.

“The Core Group, headed by the DOJ, is composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), National Prosecution Service (NPS), and the Anti-Money laundering Council (AMLC),” the DOJ said.

“The Task Force shall also invite the Commission on Audit (COA), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and the Office of the Ombudsman to work together with the Task Force, with due consideration for their independence as constitutional bodies,” it added.

The DOJ said Guevarra also discussed with the two officials the “methods of securing information regarding incidences of corruptions in government, and possible approaches for the conduct of the investigations of allegations of corruption, taking into consideration the gravity of the allegations and its impact on the delivery of government services.”

Duterte issued a memorandum ordering Guevarra to expand the coverage of the task force’s investigation on PhilHealth to include the entire government.

The President made the move due to rampant corruption in government.

“I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption kasi hanggang ngayon hindi humihina, lumalakas pa lalo (because it has not ceased. Instead, it has intensified). Para na tuloy naging inutil ang mga opisyal ng bayan na wala talagang magawa with the onslaught of corruption (It’s like the government officials have become inutile that nothing can be done with the onslaught of corruption),” Duterte said in his public address on Tuesday.

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