By Arjay L. Balinbin

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte should ensure the passage of “drastic” anti-corruption measures, including capital punishment for convicted plunderers, in the remainder of his term, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said in an interview Friday.

“It’s now the President’s call. Otherwise, in his second three years, kung hindi magagawan ng Presidente natin to (if the President fails to) neutralize, correct, or solve various issues affecting governance in various institutions in this country, I don’t know what will happen to the Philippines. God forbid. God forbid,” PACC Chairman Dante L. Jimenez said in a phone interview.

Mr. Jimenez said the President should be able to “tell” Congress, especially “during his State of the Nation Address (SONA)” in July, to come up with “real” measures that will address corruption in the country.

He added: “Sa akin (For me), If he will ask me, I will urge our legislators, I will urge our politicians to study how China started its cultural revolution….Use the pattern of China in changing the attitude of the people.”

Mr. Jimenez said the government should revive the death penalty for heinous crimes, especially plunder. “Sa Pilipinas walang (In the Philippines, we don’t have) death penalty for plunderers. We were able to convict a former president for plunder. What happened? I don’t want to name names, but look at [him] now….Kailangan maibalik ang death penalty (should be revived), especially for corruption. Otherwise walang mangyayari (nothing will happen).”

“You know already that corruption is now institutional…. I hope that in his last three years, he will be able to come up with drastic measures to offer to the Filipino people to combat corruption,” he added.

Also sought for comment, PACC Commissioner and Spokesperson Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica said victory for the winning of the candidates endorsed by Mr. Duterte is “very important” to hasten the implementation of the administration’s reform agenda.

“Death penalty is very important sa (to stop) corruption at (and) heinous crimes. Imbes na tinutulak ng Kongreso, eh pinipigil pa (Instead of pushing for it, Congress is blocking it),” Mr. Belgica said.

He added that the President is “always” talking about reviving the death penalty.