The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission on Wednesday has cleared Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol of corruption allegations over his supposed ballooning wealth.
In its Resolution No. 14 dated on Monday, the PACC found no evidence “pointing to [his] unexplained wealth.”
According to the agency, the Commission en banc approved the resolution after conducting a seven-month full lifestyle check on the Agriculture chief.
“The PACC commends Secretary Piñol for coming forward and volunteering to be subjected to a thorough lifestyle check and investigation following allegations that he benefitted from transactions in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture,” PACC chairman Dante Jimenez said in a statement Wednesday.
“The PACC gives great importance to this unprecedented action by a top government official and heralds this as a symbol of the success in the campaign of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for transparency and accountability in government service,” he added.
In December last year, Piñol gave the agency “blanket authority” to scrutinize his bank accounts and properties after suspected members of a rice cartel attempted to oust him from the Department of Agriculture over the issue of rice importation.
“The objective is very simple and clear, which is to destabilize the DA secretary by raising issues of corruption until it reaches the ear of President Duterte,” Piñol said in December 2018.
“The main suspect in this demolition job are members of the rice cartel that has controlled and profited from rice trading,” he added.
Jimenez then lauded the DA chief for submitting himself to a lifestyle check to counter the alleged demolition job.
“Instead of issuing self-serving statements to defend himself, Secretary Piñol opened all of his records including his bank accounts and financial documents to the graft investigators,” the PACC chief said.
Following Piñol’s voluntary full lifestyle check, the commission said other officials of the Duterte administration have followed suit and are now undergoing probe.
“This sense of accountability instilled by President Duterte on his fellow workers in government is considered as a major achievement by this administration,” he said.
“The PACC hopes that this will be the new culture in government service where instead of clamping up and issuing denials in the face of insinuations of corruption, public officials should open up to thorough scrutiny,” Jimenez added.
Meanwhile, the PACC chief said that the said resolution, which was also conducted by Anti-Money Laundering Council, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Land Transportation Office, the Land Registration Authority, the Philippine National Police, Civil Security Group, and Firearms and Explosives Office, will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Palace, however, has yet to react on the matter.