Curb Corruption Decisively

A comprehensive and integrated Anticorruption Framework and Program will be an essential part of the administration’s commitment to fight corruption. This framework shall be the anchor of the strategic objectives identified in this section and provide focus and direction in achieving the vision that the administration has committed for its people. It will contain key result packages with the corresponding set of anticorruption projects and implementation mechanisms to ensure success. As a starting point, a comprehensive and integrated anticorruption program will be established for the prosecution of corrupt officials, beginning with case build-up all the way up to conviction, including ancillary remedies (i.e., freezing of assets) and recovery of property. Corrupt officials shall be prosecuted and dismissed, with the highest priority accorded to high-profile cases.

1. Intensify Corruption Prevention

a) Honestly reassess the progress, priorities, and capacities of the main anticorruption agencies. All government agencies involved in anticorruption efforts, beginning with the Office of the Ombudsman, need to reexamine whether their track records match public expectations and the scale of the problem of corruption. Shortfalls and inadequacies in personnel and strategies must be urgently addressed if any further progress is to be made. The results of such reassessments should be made public in the interest of transparency;

b) Strictly enforce and observe anticorruption laws and policies. These include the Anti- Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; the Anti-Red Tape Act; National Guidelines on Internal Control System (NGICS); the Procurement law (RA 9184); mandatory provisions of UNCAC; the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA6713); and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). The legal and policy framework for corruption prevention will be enhanced through compliance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and other international standards. Anticorruption advocacy campaigns will be conducted through the rollout of an integrated integrity and anticorruption promotion program. This will also include monitoring in the implementation of anticorruption programs, projects and activities;

c) Strengthen information-exchange among all government agencies to prevent corruption and private-public sector collusion. Data possessed by revenue agencies, line agencies involved in contracting (e.g., DPWH, DOTC), local governments (residences and business permits), and the AMLAC, can be potentially assembled and mined to build anticorruption cases based on lifestyle-checks and possibly fraudulent tax returns. The availability of such information serves as a powerful deterrent against corruption involving collusion between private persons and public officials;

d) Support private sector initiatives to police its own ranks and discourage corrupt relations with government agencies in revenue collection and procurement. The Compliance and Integrity Programs for Business (CIPB) are an initiative of the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines to ensure the pledge of their members not to bribe public officials, to report corruption, and to embed standard corporate practice. The private sector has also committed to intensify its efforts to improve corporate governance through training of directors and requiring compliance with higher standards of corporate governance;

e) Implement fundamental reforms in public procurement and in budget releases to close off opportunities for corruption and to promote transparency, competition, and cost-effectiveness through the following measures:

• Roll out an enhanced Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) in order to minimize discretion and intervention in procurement. The new PhilGEPS features shall include: (a) a virtual store; (b) an expanded supplier registry; (c) an electronic payment facility; (d) a facility for electronic bid submissions to the virtual store; and (e) annual procurement plans;

• Expand the use of the PhilGEPS E-Bidding system to improve the efficiency and transparency of government agencies’ procurement activities, government contracts, and other procurement related electronic transactions, thereby reducing spending on print media advertisements;

• Review the guidelines for blacklisting unscrupulous contractors and suppliers. The Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) shall streamline procedures and strengthen policies to facilitate the collection and presentation of evidence of bid-rigging, overpricing, and underprovision against corrupt contractors and suppliers for blacklisting;

• Create an independent body to review appeals filed by bidders. An independent body, composed of procurement and legal experts shall be formed by the GPPB to review and resolve protests and appeals filed by participating bidders;

• Prevent the diversion of unspent funds from vacated positions by releasing PS allotments only for filled positions, with special attention to large service-organizations such as the military and the police;

• Prevent the conversion of MOOE and CO outlays by standardizing and disclosing MOOE and CO requirements including those of military camps and other facilities;

• Conduct technical visits to validate the budgetary status of programs, projects and activities;

f) Invite the participation and scrutiny of CSOs and individual citizens with respect to government performance through institutional means and through the provision of information. This will cover the following measures:

• Expand the pool of CSOs that serve as observers in the bids and awards committees (BACs) of various agencies to ensure civil society representation;
• Invite the regular participation of citizen groups in the budget-preparation process for the evaluation of existing government programs and for them to provide inputs to ZBB; and
• Make available to the public the accountability reports of all agencies, including the DND and the AFP, on the DBM website.

g) Empower citizens to directly and confidentially report either exemplary performance or corrupt practices of employees through dedicated portals, such as the DOF’s Pera ng Bayan website (http://perangbayan.com), which also entertains information regarding tax evaders and smugglers.

2. Speedy Resolution of Corruption Cases, with Special Cases of Grand Corruption

Laws and rules provide reglementary periods to be observed in the filing and prosecution of corruption cases. The strict observance of these rules will highly contribute to the speedy resolution of corruption cases and serve as a deterrent and a proof of the government’s sincerity in its commitment to fight corruption.

a) Review policies and procedures on speedy disposition of cases. Courts are required to submit their decisions within 90-calendar days from the time the case was submitted for resolution. This period excludes litigation proper where delays are common. Thus, it is suggested that a review of existing laws and rules be done to address the problem;

b) Strictly implement the reglementary period provided for by laws and rules for the immediate resolution of administrative and corruption cases. After the policies and procedures on the speedy disposition of cases has been reviewed and improved, strict compliance with the periods set forth by laws and rules must be ensured;
c) Pursue corruption cases resolutely based on principle and to set a public example. Especially in well known cases of grand corruption, the government shall use all instrumentalities to ensure that solid evidence is gathered, prepared, and preserved so that cases are not compromised but rather pursued in accordance with the full force of the law. As a result, this may serve as serious deterrents to future grafters;

d) Amend the COA Charter to provide for the recovery of illegally-disbursed public funds. The COA Charter21 amendments must solve the problem of issuance of writ of execution of decisions rendered final and executory by the Supreme Court in cases on notice of disallowances for illegal or irregular disbursements ornotice of charge for under collection or underassessment of revenues applying to natural or juridical persons. Under the Constitution, COA decisions are directly appealable to the Supreme Court. However, the COA Charter, Rules of Procedures and other issuances do not contain any provision on how to execute these decisions and collect COA disallowances and charges from private persons or entities. Alternatively, Supreme Court rules of procedures in execution of judgments on COA appealed cases may be reviewed;

e) Nationwide implementation of the case tracking monitoring system. All justice sector agencies should be interconnected through the National Justice Information System;

f) Pursue the enactment of a Whistleblower Protection Law. A credible means to protect key informants is urgent, particularly when the impartiality of judicial and law enforcement agents is in question; and

g) Pursue the enactment of a law on campaign finance reform regulating campaign contributions. There should be a law limiting campaign contributions. Unregulated campaign funds often results in the corrupting influence of campaign contributors to an elected candidate. Our election laws impose limits on the amount and type of campaign expenditures, and candidates are required to report all contributions but there is nothing that regulates the excess contribution.

3. Adopt a Comprehensive Anticorruption Program

The tedious process of getting a final resolution is a major obstacle to people filing complaints against corruption. A single window for filing and monitoring corruption cases, lodged in a credible agency, will encourage people to file complaints against erring officials and employees, and eventually help curtail corruption. This will also promote the seamless coordination of investigation, prosecution and other bodies in the expeditious resolution of corruption cases.

a) Review rules of procedure on administrative/civil/criminal actions on corruption-related cases. Due to the relatively low conviction rate in corruption cases, existing procedures should be reviewed and evaluated to determine the need for further refinements in the procedures applicable to corruption-related cases and make them more effective; and

b) Review policies and procedures on case monitoring and records management. Existing policies and procedures for monitoring of cases and records management should be reviewed and, if necessary, revised to adapt to the present condition. Monitoring of cases from filing up to the execution of decisions/judgments is important to verify if justice has been fully served.

4. Enhance the Legal and Policy Framework for Corruption Prevention Comply with the UNCAC on corruption prevention and other international standards.

5. Strengthen Integrity Mechanisms  and Control Structures a) Expand the Integrity Development Review;
b) Institute a public reporting mechanism on adherence to anticorruption policies. This will be achieved by creating an independent joint NG and NGO Committee with appropriate human capital and financial support; and

c) Execute memoranda of agreement for partnerships in transparency and accountability in LGUs. Parties to these memoranda should include LGUs themselves, national government agencies and CSOs.

4. Enhance the Legal and Policy Framework for Corruption Prevention.

Comply with the UNCAC on corruption prevention and other international standards.

5. Strengthen Integrity Mechanisms and Control Structures

a) Expand the Integrity Development Review;

b) Institute a public reporting mechanism on adherence to anticorruption policies. This will be achieved by creating an independent joint NG and NGO Committee with appropriate human capital and financial support; and

c) Execute memoranda of agreement for partnerships in transparency and accountability in LGUs. Parties to these memoranda should include LGUs themselves, national government agencies and CSOs.

6. Enhance Partnership Structures and Mechanisms and International Linkages

a) Expand CSO and private sector participation in the Multi-Sectoral Anticorruption Council (MSACC);
b) Strengthen interagency coordination; and

c) Comply with international and regional commitments (e.g., UNCAC, ADB-OECD Anticorruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific, APEC Anticorruption Plan of Action).

7. Conduct anticorruption advocacy campaigns

a) Roll-out an integrated promotion program for integrity and against anticorruption; 

b) Enhance values formation and moral recovery for all government officials and employees in close collaboration with CSOs; and

c) Wage a massive educational campaign on the law, rules, and regulations relating to good governance.

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