Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Dante Jimenez on Tuesday urged the public not to vote for politicians with pending corruption cases.
Jimenez’s speech should reverberate in Davao del Norte where the P4 billion Tagum City Flyover is rising from the ground amidst allegations of massive corruption. The project is said to be funded by “insertions” in the General Appropriations Act of 2018 and 2019.
Davao del Norte First District re-electionist Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who was ousted as Speaker of the House of Representatives last year over allegations of corruption, is claiming credit for the project, alleged as having been started in 2018 without public consultation, approval by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and other government agencies.
The completion of the massive 1.6km project said to be standing on an earthquake fault line, appears to be doomed: Additional budget for the flyover, part of the reported P5 billion budget for infrastructure projects “inserted” by Alvarez in the 2019 GAA before he was ousted as Speaker in July last year, is among ‘insertions’ amounting to P75 billion that were line-vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the proposed 2019 GAA.
In his speech at the Stop Crimes against Women Summit 2019, which was organized by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), Jimenez said these politicians are greedy and have the urge to enrich themselves.
“Huwag mong iboboto yung mga corrupt, ‘yung may mga kaso (Don’t vote for those corrupt, those with cases). Naka-pending yan sa (It’s pending in the) Sandiganbayan,” he said.
Jimenez, the founding chair of VACC, said corruption breeds poverty.
“Ang aking opisina po ay naka-focus sa isang halimaw ng ating (My office is focused on dealing with a monster in our) society, ito’y halimaw ng pagnanakaw sa pera ng bayan (This monster of plundering government funds). Corruption breeds poverty,” he said.
Jimenez said corrupt politicians can get away with crimes because they have the money to hire top lawyers.
“They can get away with crime, even murder,” he said.
Jimenez also cited the role of women and the youth in speaking out against the injustices in society.
“The women of today, ang mga kabataan din (even the youth), ay dapat lumabas na. You have to be outspoken. You have to be heard. We must continue to speak out against harassment, violence in our homes workplaces, in our social circles,” he said.
Jimenez said government alone cannot address corruption and injustices.
“It’s being addressed, but you see, sabi nga ni Presidente (the President said), we cannot do this alone. It’s the people, lalo na mga kababaihan (especially the women),” he said.
Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Martin Diño and PAO chief Persida Acosta also graced the event. (with PNA report)