By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo on Tuesday said the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) should give officials under investigation for alleged corruption a chance to respond.
Mr. Panelo made this statement after Labor Secretary Silvestro H. Bello III, in an interview with dzMM, sought the dismissal of a PACC official who divulged on Monday the names of officials being probed by the commission for corruption allegations.
“Then that’s the call of Secretary Bello. If that will be his wish to the President….” Mr. Panelo said.
“Sa akin, if you ask me as a lawyer, dapat bigyan mo ng pagkakataon din iyong dinidemanda mo (If you ask me as a lawyer, you should give the accused an opportunity to respond),” he added.
Mr. Panelo said his office also receives complaints against government agencies and officials. “Ang ginagawa namin, pinapadala ko doon sa (what we do is we forward the complaint to the) person concerned or agency concerned….”
“Hindi mo dapat nilalabas kaagad iyon kasi (You should not be announcing that immediately because), otherwise, you might be unnecessarily maligning a reputation na walang (without) basis eventually.”
In his radio interview, Mr. Bello said, referring to PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna: “Under the executive order creating the PACC, iyung pag-iimbestiga (the investigation) should be discreet, in fairness to the respondents. Inuunahan naman niya (He is preempting it).”
“That is why I’m going to ask the President to dismiss him from office for grave abuse of authority,” he continued.
In a separate dzMM interview, Mr. Luna, for his part, said: “If you will not disclose some information to the public eh sabihin ng mga kababayan natin na may itinatago tayo (the public will say that we are hiding something).”
Mr. Luna had also named Director-General Isidro S. Lapeña of the Technical and Skills Development Authority and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) chairperson Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo as being under PACC’s investigation.
The commission, according to Mr. Luna, is also investigating corruption complaints against some officials in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Finance (DoF) “except” for their respective secretaries.