Strengthened witness protection program sought

By Jelly Musico

October 4, 2018, 10:00 pm

<p><strong>ULAT SA BAYAN</strong>. Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Dante Jimenez delivers an "Ulat sa Bayan" on the government's major accomplishments in the fight against corruption, one year after President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued EO #43 creating the Commission, on Thursday (October 4, 2018) at the Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila during "The Presser" organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.<em> (PNA photo by Gil Calinga)</em></p>

ULAT SA BAYAN. Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Dante Jimenez delivers an "Ulat sa Bayan" on the government's major accomplishments in the fight against corruption, one year after President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued EO #43 creating the Commission, on Thursday (October 4, 2018) at the Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila during "The Presser" organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office. (PNA photo by Gil Calinga)

MANILA – Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Dante Jimenez on Thursday called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to strengthen the witness protection program (WPP) to encourage more witnesses against corrupt public officials.

“We have requested the DOJ to strengthen the witness protection program,” Jimenez said during "The Presser" forum organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to mark the PACC’s first anniversary at the Palacio Del Gobernardor in Intramuros, Manila.

In his "Ulat sa Bayan" report, Jimenez said the complainants are reluctant to come out and expose the anomalies involving some government officials.

Jimenez said he received complaints especially when he was still head of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) that WPP witnesses were not treated well.

“How could you, if the WPP has this kind of system. How will the complainants come out. There is a need to strengthen the WPP,” Jimenez said.

He said people are afraid to come out because witnesses are “either harassed or killed”.

Jimenez also appealed to Congress to approve a new system of government which will address the serious problem of corruption in the country.

He, however, clarified that he is not suggesting any particular form of government.

“About the system, we mentioned here in general. We did not say particular. We urged on Congress since they are the framers of the Constitution and will be submitted for plebiscite, fix this rotten system. So Congress must do something about this,” he said.

The Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution has submitted a draft of the proposed federal charter to Duterte.

Meanwhile, PACC Commissioner Grego Belgica said the first step to fight corruption is to build a strong justice system.

“The real problem of corruption, of criminality is a corrupt justice system,” he said.

He suggested the restoration of death penalty against heinous crimes and corruption.

“If corrupt will not be punished, they will not stop,” Belgica said. (PNA)

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