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DOF, PACC to focus on catching ‘big fish’

Move to send strong message to small-time crooks that gov’t means business
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:33 AM December 28, 2018

The Department of Finance (DOF), which oversees the country’s biggest revenue-collecting agencies, on Thursday said it would work with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) in catching big-time crooks who loot government coffers.

During a recent meeting with PACC’s Dante Jimenez, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III asked the commission to focus its investigations on big fishes involved in anomalous government contracts so it could make prudent use of its limited time and resources in the remaining half of the Duterte presidency.

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“We have a limited amount of time. I’m not saying we should not go after the small ones, but you know, if you only have so much time, we better go after the big ones first because of their many effects on the economy,” Dominguez was quoted by the DOF as telling Jimenez.

“Focus on the big target, focus on the big things. We cannot do everything. Just focus on the big ones and try to really catch them,” the finance chief added.

For Dominguez, catching the big fishes would send a strong message to small-time crooks that the government means business—and will remain relentless—in its campaign against corruption in keeping with the President’s directive.

Dominguez said the PACC should be on the lookout for “big-time crooks” who are “devious” and “smart” in hiding their illegal deals.

“Those guys who bribe people to look the other way, who give them nice contracts, who give them concessions for many, many years, who let them make money for no risk. That’s a big, big corruption crime. But you have to be really be very smart, you have to be smarter than them to catch them because it’s white-collar crime,” he said.

The finance chief said he deemed that corruption in the bureaucracy happened “when you collect taxes and other revenues, when you spend public funds and when state officials and employees turn away and approve projects that are grossly disadvantageous to the government but highly beneficial for certain people.”

Since the DOF-attached bureaus of Customs and of Internal Revenue collect 98 percent of government revenues, or an average of P2.8 trillion yearly, Dominguez admitted that “there is obviously room for corruption” in those two agencies.

As such, Dominguez said the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service led by Undersecretary Bayani Agabin was conducting lifestyle checks among employees, including those of attached agencies, to rid them of graft and corruption.

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TAGS: Department of Finance (DOF), Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)
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