Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on Thursday endorsed to the House leadership the creation of a new government agency that will implement anti-corruption plans to prevent, control and eliminate graft and corrupt practices in the government.
House bill no. 579, authored by Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva and CIBAC Party-list Rep. Domingo Rivera, is seeking to establish the National Independent Commission Against Corruption (NICAC) as an attached agency of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Among the proposed functions of the NICAC would be to “examine the bidding, negotiation, execution and implementation of public contracts and verify the award of public works and supply contracts.”
The proposed office is also aimed to “undertake a comprehensive audit and lifestyle checks of public officers and employees.”
Such a bill is one of the five anti-corruption bills endorsed by Romualdez to House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco in a bid to enhance the President’s campaign against corruption in the government.
Romualdez has yet to endorse more anti-corruption bills. All measures have been pending at the committee level.
“We hope that we can gear towards the passage of these bills before this year ends, or early next year,” Romualdez, House Committee on Rules chairperson, said in a statement.
The other endorsed bill was Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero’s House Bill no. 7230 or amending section 6 of the Forfeiture Law.
It seeks to increase the financial resources of the Office of the Ombudsman by providing it “a 30 percent share in any property forfeited in favor of the State under the law.
The measure also stated that this method would “ensure additional funding to the Ombudsman” to help it combat corruption and “eliminate the need” for national budget reallocation.
House bill nos. 581 and 6003 were also endorsed which require the inclusion of anti-corruption and governance education in the basic education and higher education curriculum, respectively.
The last bill was Cavite Rep. Francis Abaya’s House bill no. 967 that seeks to protect and award informants who would divulge crucial information about corrupt government officials.
“We can see that our esteemed and hardworking colleagues have long acknowledged the need to step-up our fight against corruption by filing these bills. Upon instruction of the Speaker, we will back the swift passage of these timely bills in line with our commitment to support President Duterte’s order to investigate corruption in all levels of governance,” Romualdez noted.