THE DEPARTMENT of Finance (DoF) said it will target as part of its anti-corruption efforts major contractors who pay bribes to secure government projects.
In a statement, the DoF said it ordered its agencies to work with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to catch “big fish” contractors that secure favorable contracts by paying bribes.
“Just focus on the big ones and try to really catch them. We have limited amount of time. I’m not saying we should not go after the small ones, but you know, if you only have so much time, we’d better go after the big ones first because catching them will have a major impact on the economy,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.
“Those guys who bribe people to look the other way to give them nice contracts, to give them concessions for many, many years, to let them make money for no risk. That’s a big, big corruption crime. But you have to be really be very smart, you have to be smarter than them to catch them because it’s white-collar crime,” he added.
Mr. Dominguez said that catching the big fishes would send a strong message to small-time crooks that the government means business in the Duterte administration’s campaign against corruption.
Mr. Dominguez said that corruption occurs during tax collection, the disbursement of public funds, and in the approval of projects that are not advantageous to the government.
He said that the DoF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) along with other auditing offices in its various agencies will work with the PACC.
In the first eight months of the year, RIPS has dismissed from public office five Customs personnel for failing lifestyle checks, while suspending more officials from other DoF agencies.
Mr. Dominguez said that the DoF has caught the biggest fish on tax evasion so far, after cigarette maker Mighty Corp. settled P30 billion tax obligations last year, the largest tax settlement on record.
The PACC, which is under the Office of the President, was created by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2017 through Executive Order No. 43. It has the power to conduct lifestyle checks, look into suspected corrupt activities, and recommend punishment ranging from suspension to removal from office.
It may refer any case for appropriate action to the Office of the Ombudsman, or deputize any other office, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), for assistance. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan