The Department of Finance recently launched its “Information against Corruption Page” on the Department of Finance (DOF) website, in support of the latest directive by President Duterte on flushing out grafters from the bureaucracy.
The online tool allows the public to submit any information that they may have against officers and personnel of the DOF and its attached agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) who might own properties or live lifestyles grossly disproportionate to their lawful incomes.
This initiates the power of the Secretary of Finance under Executive Order (EO) No. 259 series of 2003 to investigate such information, submit the findings to the Office of the Ombudsman and ask for the criminal prosecution and dismissal from the service of errant officials and personnel.
Traditionally, any information on suspected corruption needs to be reported to the DOF face to face, but with the ongoing pandemic, this online tool allows the public to safely submit information directly to the DOF through their mobile devices.
Though not officially a part of the DOJ Mega Task Force created a few weeks ago to investigate graft, the DOF, through its Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) team, has always heeded the call of President Duterte to curb corruption.
Secretary Dominguez has informed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra about the RIPS anti-corruption team, which is mandated to detect, investigate and prevent corruption under the DOF, BIR, BOC and all other DOF-attached agencies.
“In light of the memorandum of President Duterte directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire bureaucracy, this Department shall be pleased to extend its assistance which your department may need,” Secretary Dominguez said in his letter to Secretary Guevarra.
“(The RIPS) has the authority to gather evidence and file the appropriate criminal, civil or administrative complaints against government officials and employees in the said offices before the appropriate court, or administrative body and actively assist in the prosecution of the cases,” Secretary Dominguez added.
Since July 2016, the RIPS has initiated investigations against 384 officials and employees of the DOF and its attached agencies.
The RIPS was able to secure successful resolutions against 57 individuals charged before the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Office of the Ombudsman, 14 of whom were ordered dismissed from the service.
Secretary Dominguez said the DOJ may coordinate with RIPS Executive Director Ray Gilberto Espinosa “to discuss how our respective departments can work together towards this effort.”
Under EO 259 series of 2003, the power of Secretary Dominguez to investigate corruption is exercised through a trusted Undersecretary who supervises the RIPS.
Since assuming office, Undersecretary Bayani Agabin has been at the helm of the team assisted by Espinosa who was previously a prosecutor with the DOJ-National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS).
The information against Corruption page can be accessed using the URL https://www.dof.gov.ph/report-corruption/.