Anti-Corruption Commission gets anti-red tape recommendatory powers

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an executive order mandating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to recommend complaints of violations of the Anti-Red Tape Act to the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

Released on Friday, Jan. 11, Executive Order (EO) No. 73, as signed by the President on Dec. 28 last year, amends EO No. 43 (series of 2017) that created the commission. EO No. 73 adds more items to Section 5 of EO. No. 43 on Jurisdiction, Powers, and Functions.

EO No. 73 states that the PACC shall “(r)ecommend to the Anti-Red Tape Authority, for investigation, violations of Republic Act No. 9485, otherwise known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, as amended, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

“After due investigation, recommend to the President the filing of appropriate criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice, or otherwise refer such cases for appropriate action to these Officers.”

It also said that the PACC “shall perform such other functions or duties as may be assigned by the President.”

The EO added that “nothing shall prevent the President, in the interest of the service, from directly investigating and/or hearing an administrative case against any presidential appointee or authorizing other offices under the office of the President to do the same, as well as from assuming jurisdiction at any stage of the proceedings over cases being investigated by the commission.”

Sought for comment, PACC Commissioner and spokesperson Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica told BusinessWorld in a phone message that “PACC only assists the President and recommends possible action. Red Tape cases, we can recommend to the President or ARTA.”

In an interview with BusinessWorld last December, PACC Chairman Dante L. Jimenez said that that his commission was preparing to ask Mr. Duterte to grant the agency prosecutorial powers and expand its jurisdiction.

Alongside the expansion of powers and jurisdiction, Mr. Jimenez said the commission’s manpower should also be increased as well as be provided with its own budget. — Arjay L. Balinbin