Martires to PACC: Hands off GCTA probe
MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Samuel Martires said on Thursday, September 5, that the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) should take its hands off the investigation into alleged anomalies inside the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) related to the granting of good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
"In order to avoid any possible conflicting findings, agencies such as the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which announced its intent to also investigate the matter, should defer to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman," Martires said in a statement on Thursday.
PACC Commissioner Manny Luna told the Senate on Thursday that they were opening a parallel investigation into the allegations that there was corruption involved in the aborted release of convicted murderer and rapist Antonio Sanchez.
"Since the Ombudsman has assumed jurisdiction over this case, no other agency is allowed to conduct a parallel investigation unless so authorized by the Ombudsman pursuant to law," Martires said.
The creation of the PACC in 2017 was criticized for being a duplication of Ombudsman functions. President Rodrigo Duterte created the PACC at a time when he was accusing former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of alleged partiality when the agency was investigating the President's wealth.
Duterte fired BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon Wednesday night, September 4, and ordered an Ombudsman investigation.
The Office of the Ombudsman has the power to launch an investigation even without a complaint.
"As of press time, investigators have already obtained raw data and pertinent documents from the BuCor. Meanwhile, documents are being gathered from the Department of Justice, Senate, and other relevant agencies," Martires said.
Asked if former BuCor chief and now Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa is covered by the investigation, Duterte said he is "sure" the senator will cooperate.
"I am sure he would be ready to submit himself. Lahat naman eh, sabi ko (I said all of them)," Duterte said.
Martires has not responded to the question of whether the Ombudsman investigation covers Dela Rosa.
Luna said the PACC investigation will exclude Dela Rosa for lack of authority.
Executive Order 43, which created the PACC, only authorizes the commission to investigate presidential appointees.
"(Dela Rosa) has become a senator of the republic so we cannot question his past actions. The records, and his subordinates at the time, will be covered in our investigation," Luna said.
The PACC once insisted it had authority to investigate Antonio Trillanes IV at a time when the former soldier was still a senator.
PACC Executive Director Eduardo Bringas said during a press conference in October 2018 that they were "given authority to conduct lifestyle check and fact-finding on all government officials, not necessarily presidential appointees."
Luna said he had already disowned Bringas' statement. – Rappler.com