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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Lifestyle check on DoTr execs

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Sunday said he had ordered all heads of agencies and other Transport officials to submit their individual Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth to the Department of Justice-led task force in line with his department’s cooperation in the anti-graft probe.

The order includes officials’ chief-of-staff, secretaries, executive assistants and those involved in project management and procurement.

Tugade said he had already assigned a group and a point person who would gather and review the SALNs of all past and present Transport officials, including his.

“I told them to compare the SALNs and show and tell if they see anything that must be looked into,” Tugade said earlier during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay online forum.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Justice department to lead a “mega” task force that would conduct an investigation into graft across all government agencies.

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Duterte said the authority to investigate of the DOJ-led task force would be in effect until the end of his term on June 30, 2022.

Tugade said he ordered the comparison of submission for three periods of the SALN or for three years to find out if there was a substantial difference.

“We will support the mega task force. We already had a meeting and agreed to comply with the requirement asked for by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, so we can show that we are cooperating with the government in addressing and eradicating corruption,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tugade said he was glad that his department was not included in the five agencies that Duterte had identified as among the most problematic in the country.

Since 2016, Tugade has been implementing strict anti-corruption policies and measures.

He has directed the Central Office and all agencies under it to livestream the bidding process for transparency and prohibited meetings with contractors during the conduct of the bidding process to prevent bribery and undue influence. He has further ordered the publication of bidding processes conducted.

He has also ordered the strict adherence to the "No Gift Policy" he instituted since Day 1 of his administration, only allowing electronic greetings for occasions since physical greeting cards may be used to insert money for bribes.

More importantly, Tugade has been uncompromising in implementing the "One-Strike" Policy on corruption. In fact, since his tenure started until 2019, 20 personnel had been relieved, 17 had been suspended, and 128 had been dismissed from the service for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

He said those dismissed and suspended included not only rank-and-file employees but even middle managers or chiefs and top brass in the Central Office and agencies, with the cases ranging from fixing activities, involvement in payola to receiving fees, gifts or other valuable items in the course of official duties.

This year, five dismissed employees belong to the division chief and director levels while, in November alone, four employees had been preventively suspended due to an ongoing case on grave misconduct, and a job order was immediately terminated. These cases have been reported to the President. 

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