The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) defended its directive to the Philippine National Police (PNP)'s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to investigate at least 37 municipalities and cities for alleged irregularities in their disbursement of public funds or alleged corrupt practices.
DILG Spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya, said on Tuesday that the Department exercises general supervision over local government units and thus has the power to do fact-finding and case build-up on corruption complaints against local government officials.
Malaya said that the directive of DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Año to PNP to investigate some local government units (LGUs) are based on received reports from Hotline 8888 and Presidential Complaints Center and is in line with the Bantay Korapsyon program that was launched on October 3 this Local Government Month.
“The DILG is conscientious in exercising its powers vested by law. The Department would not give a directive to the PNP that is outside the bounds of the law,” he said.
Malaya points out that Republic Act (RA) No. 10973, which was enacted this year granting subpoena powers to the Chief of PNP and the Director and the Deputy Director of the CIDG, is in line with the DILG Act of 1990 or RA 6975 that mandates the PNP to investigate all crimes which includes graft and corruption as well as “perform other duties and exercise all other functions as may be provided by law.”
"The DILG's directive to the PNP is under the Bantay Korapsyon program of the government. And the CIDG's issuance of subpoena is authorized under RA 10973. It is needed for subpoenas to be issued because that is inherent in investigations," said Malaya.
"The Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman do not have the exclusive authority to investigate corruption cases. It is concurrently shared with other government agencies like the PNP,” he said.
He said the DILG is cautious and heedful not to usurp the authority of other agencies. "No agency has the exclusive authority to investigate graft and corruption," he added.
“The DILG’s hands are full already with concerns and reform agenda in the interior and local government sectors. The least the Department wants is to get embroiled in an issue on usurpation of authority,” he said.
Everyone’s a watchdog vs corruption
Malaya says that the Bantay Korapsyon program framework consists of three components geared towards building the local capacities of citizens, communities, and LGUs to support corrupt-free governance as they demonstrate behaviours and norms of being kadiwa, kabahagi, and kaagapay.
The framework presents a good number of interventions and approaches per component, as well as a menu of learning and development activities including training, policy and program support, education and advocacy, community mobilization, assessment, recognition and incentives, and partnership-building and engagement.
The primary objective of the program is to educate, prevent and deter corruption thru the implementation of plans and activities supportive to honest governance.
The program also introduces a three-pronged strategy to combat corruption— (1) education by improving awareness about corruption, (2) preventing by reducing opportunities to do corrupt acts, and (3) deterrence by raising the probability of catching the corrupt and rewarding good practices — through partnerships and community mobilization, and community-specific, LGU-nuanced, and DILG-focused capacity development interventions.