Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro has requested the institutional participation of the Commission on Audit, the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Money Laundering Council, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the creation of a “superbody” that will examine and investigate government contracts and transactions.
The team will be called the Special Multi-Agency Reform Team (SMART) and will “examine and investigate contracts and transactions entered into by government agencies through their respective officials and employees with the end view of expediting the prosecution of all perpetrators of corrupt activities, should evidence so warrant.” Casimiro requested the cooperation of the five agencies in a memorandum circular to ensure the success of the “superbody”.
The creation of a “superbody” may not be necessary, as the law that created the Office of the Ombudsman provides that it has the power to request government agencies for assistance, but because we are coming from an Ombudsman that could only be described as inutile, this request from the acting Ombudsman serves as a new starting point for the government agencies mentioned of a renewed relationship with the government office that is supposed to be our primary weapon against graft and corruption. This will mean more work for everybody involved, but if the previous Ombudsman had been doing her job properly, those five government agencies wouldn’t have to be reminded of their roles in the fight against corruption.
Based on the sheer number of whistleblowers and witnesses that have recently been coming out of the woodwork, perhaps because of their confidence in the sincerity of the Aquino administration’s crusade against corruption, it has become clear that the new Ombudsman will have his work cut out for him. Not only will long overdue investigations into previous anomalies have to be undertaken, there is also the task of preventing anomalous contracts and transactions from ever seeing the light of day. The Ombudsman job will definitely be made more manageable with the cooperation of those 5 government agencies. For the sake of the nation, we hope that this is the restart of a beautiful and productive collaboration against the scourge of corruption.*