Palace: President Duterte may create task force to probe alleged corruption in DPWH

(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte may create a task force to probe alleged corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a television interview this may be apart from the task force the DPWH  announced it had created after the President said there continued to be under-the-table deals in the agency in public projects.

Roque said the  creation of a separate task force will depend on “how this new task force will operate, if it is credible, if it can hold individuals accountable for their acts.”

Roque noted the President ordered the creation of one to probe corruption allegations against PhilHealth.

The task force was led by the Department of Justice, and filed charges against several former and incumbent PhilHealth officials over the corruption.

Among those charged was then-PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, who has since been replaced by former National Bureau of Investigation head Dante Gierran.

Gierran later asked senior PhilHealth officials to tender their courtesy resignation as part of reorganization in the state insurer.

“It (DPWH creation of a task force) is a step towards the right direction. But this initial step is without prejudice to whatever the President may order in the near future,” Roque said.

Earlier, the President railed against what he said was still rampant corruption in the agency, with only  two years left in his administration.

The President, however, defended Public Works chief Mark Villar, saying he was too rich to be corrupt himself.

Villar is the son of property mogul Manny Villar, and had a net worth of over P1.408 billion in 2018, according to the government.