ARTA, PACC ink deal for joint investigations

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THE country’s red tape and corruption watchdogs on Wednesday signed a deal to work jointly on investigations.

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of agreement to align their work on corruption-related complaints sent to either agency.

“We will be able to share investigations and valuable information that is allowed by law to bolster investigations, file cases, and submit reports to the President and recommend streamlining policies and systems,” PACC Chairman Greco B. Belgica said at a virtual briefing on Wednesday.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica, the PACC chairman’s brother, said the PACC has jurisdiction over presidential appointees, while ARTA works on easing government processing times.

“When ARTA investigates and there are related allegations of corruption… we refer these to the appropriate agencies like PACC,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He also said that the two agencies’ legal teams will work together and fact-finding processes will be done jointly to speed up the process.

Cases investigated by ARTA can be automatically endorsed to the PACC, he added.

PACC, on the other hand, will also endorse red tape violations under Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act to ARTA.

The Philippines slipped two spots to 115th place out of 180 countries or territories in a global corruption index released in January by Transparency International. The organization said widespread corruption has weakened many countries’ response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. — Jenina P. Ibanez