TUGUEGARAO CITY, CAGAYAN - In support of the administration’s fight to end corruption and strengthen participatory governance, The Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Office 02 (DILG R2) hosted a virtual seminar on Reinforcing Public Accountability on June 08, 2021, with Provincial Governors, City/Municipal Mayors, Liga ng mga Barangay Federation Presidents, Civil Society Organizations and, DILG R2 personnel across the region as participants.
Joining as resource speakers to the activity were Court of Appeals Associate Justice Raymond Reynold Lauigan, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President, Atty. Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa and, DILG Central Office Bantay-Korapsyon Program Development Officer, Mr. George Mapile.
The sessions kicked-off with Mr. George Mapile highlighting the different Bantay- Korapsyon (BK) Programs and the important role CSOs play in the fight against corruption. He said that in 2018, out of the appropriated P3.76 Trillion about P752 Billion worth of government fund are lost due to corruption. According to him, these amount could be utilized for social housing units, medical and educational assistance, and farm implements. He also added that corruption in the LGUs mainly arise from the procurement process, followed by poor public financial management, and alleged ghost projects.
“20% ng Annual Government Appropriation ang napupunta sa corruption. Minsan, sa procurement process walang bidding, umiiral pa rin ang nepotismo at red tape, ginagawang service ang ambulansya, at may mga ghost projects at ghost employees,” Mapile said.
He also discussed the Department’s three-pronged strategy which includes Education, Deterrence, and Prevention of corruption. Quoting DILG Sec. Eduardo Año’s welcome remarks during the launching of the BK Program:
“Let us be part of the movement of the DILG to eliminate corruption at the local level and to empower and capacitate CSOs. We should also remember the keys of Good Governance which includes Transparency, Accountability, and People’s Participation,” he said.
In the first part of the afternoon session, Associate Justice Raymond Lauigan of the Court of Appeals tackled the salient features of the Anti- Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Plunder Law, the Ombudsman Act, and Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
In his discussion, Justice Lauigan said that the Office of the Ombudsman protects the people from illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient act of any public official, employee, office or agency. He added that the Office of the Ombudsman, under the law, shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the Government, its subdivisions, instrumentalities, including Members of the Cabinet, LGUs, Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and their subsidiaries. Furthermore, the Office of the Ombudsman have jurisdiction to investigate not only elective and appointive officials but also private persons.
“In all cases of conspiracy between an officer or employee of the government and a private person, the Ombudsman and his Deputies shall have jurisdiction to include such private person in the investigation”, he said.
“For Graft and Corruption and other similar offenses, the Sandiganbayan hears and decides criminal and civil cases against government officials and employees accused thereof,” he added.
Most notable among Justice Lauigan’s topics, was his lecture on, Section 3(e) of the Graft and Corrupt Practices Act - “Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial function through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence” as he would underscore as the most violated provision of the law.
Wrapping up the webinar was IBP President, Atty. Cayosa, who discussed the different crimes committed by public officials. He highlighted the accountability of public officers expressly provided under Sec. 1, Article XI of the 187 Constitution which states in part that “…Public Office is a Public Trust”.
Moreover, he gave an insight with regard to the definition of the term “Public Officer” in our laws, which according to him
“…is comprehensive enough to embrace every public servant from the lowest to the highest rank, whether appointed, elected, or designated by law, permanent, temporary, casual, with or without salary.”
He later on gave a run-down of a list of crimes commonly committed by public officers and showcased the IBP’s continued campaign against delay in the administration of justice “Justice Bilis, not Justice Tiis”, before ending his discussion quoting “honesty and accountability begins with us, we should be the change that we wish”.
The DILG Region 02, through its Bantay- Korapsyon Program and with the help of the LGUs and CSOs across the region, pushes through with its campaign to eliminate corruption in the government for their capacity development interventions and maintaining public accountability.
(SOURCE: BK COORDINATOR-DIANNE HANNALY AQIUNO)