So what’s the big deal?
It had been done before.
And never mind the duplicity here.
After all, someone has to watch over the watchman.
This is even more compelling when the official, independent watchdog has shed its independence and succumbed to either political influence or pressure.
When this happens, that agency loses its moral mandate to perform its duties and execute its functions.
Thus, President Duterte has signed an executive order creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission that would investigate corrupt presidential appointees.
Nothing new here: former President Arroyo also created her own Presidential Anti-Graft Commission to do the same job.
The new commission was created a week after the President vowed to form a body that would investigate alleged corruption at the Office of the Ombudsman.
EO 43, signed by Duterte on Wednesday, states that the commission is mandated “to directly assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and or corruption against all presidential appointees.”
In creating the PACC, the EO cited the Administration’s continuing mandate to fight and eradicate graft and corruption in government, as well as its advocacy to ensure that all public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust.
“There is a need to create a separate commission under the Office of the President solely dedicated to providing assistance to the President in the investigation and hearing of administrative cases and complaints, and in the conduct of lifestyle checks and/or fact-finding inquiries concerning presidential appointees and other public officers allegedly involved in graft and corrupt practices, or have committed other high crimes and/or violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” the EO said.
As provided by EO 43, the Commission shall be composed of a chairman and four commissioners to be appointed by the President.
The chairman shall have the rank of Presidential Assistant II while the commissioners shall have the rank of Presidential Assistant I.
The members of the commission must be lawyers who have been in practice for at least five years.
The EO states that the commission shall "have the power, on complaint or motu proprio (on its own), and concurrently with the Office of the Ombudsman, to hear, investigate, receive, gather, and evaluate evidence, intelligence reports, and information in administrative cases against all presidential appointees in the Executive Branch of the government and any of its agencies and instrumentalities occupying the position of assistant regional director or an equivalent rank and higher."
Upon the President’s instruction, the Commission may investigate presidential appointees in the Armed Forces and the National Police whenever he deems it necessary or appropriate.
On the President's orders or on its own, the Commission may also conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or omissions of all presidential appointees, including those outside the executive branch which may be violative of the Constitution, or contrary to law, rules and regulation, and/or constitute serious misconduct tantamount to betrayal of public trust.
The Commission may also recommend to the President the preventive suspension of an official upon the filing of a complaint or charge.