Duterte body probing 2 Cabinet officials

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TWO CABINET officials are being investigated for corruption, an official of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said on Wednesday, without naming the officials.

The agency will also conduct lifestyle checks on top officials of the Customs and Internal Revenue bureaus, Public Works, Environment and Transportation departments and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Commissioner and spokesman Greco B. Belgica told a briefing.

He said their probe won’t be made public until the reports are submitted to President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Mr. Belgica said top PCSO officials have submitted copies of their statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth and promised to cooperate with the probe.

“We are encouraging the public to also help us by reporting any illegal activities being committed by government employees,” he said.

Mr. Belgica said the PACC, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and Hotline 8888 have agreed to partner “to prevent, combat and eliminate corruption in all aspects of public administration.”

A committee called Project USIG has been formed to conduct lifestyle checks and file charges against corrupt government personnel. The PACC will work with the police, government investigators, intelligence agents and the Anti-Money Laundering Council, he said.

Mr. Duterte in his annual address to Congress last month decried persistent government corruption. He said the recent uncovering of massive fraud perpetrated against the public health insurance system proves that corruption is pervasive.

The president likewise vowed to pave the way for the removal of corrupt officials at the Bureau of Customs, where more than 60 people are under investigation for corruption.

Mr. Duterte later suspended lotto operations nationwide for alleged corruption, only to restore them four days after because the operations were found to be above board. — Arjay L. Balinbin