Duterte's anti-corruption body can now recommend the filing of criminal charges against presidential appointees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 11) — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) can now recommend to the Chief Executive the filing of criminal charges against his appointees suspected of committing illegal acts.

President Rodrigo Duterte amended the executive order creating the PACC to give the body power to recommend the filing of criminal complaints before the the Ombudsman or the justice department.

Previously, the PACC could only recommend to the President administrative penalties and preventive suspension of officials suspected of wrongdoing, or refer cases to the Ombudsman and the appropriate disciplinary authority.

Duterte also granted the PACC power to recommend to the Anti-Red Tape Authority the investigation of cases of possible violation of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

It would also perform "such other functions or duties as may be assigned by the President."

At the same, Duterte said that nothing could prevent him from investigating or authorizing other offices under him to conduct an investigation or take over the probe on cases being investigated by the PACC.

The PACC is currently looking at corruption complaints against Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, former Customs Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority head Isidro Lapeña, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples chair Leonor Quintayo.

Since its creation in 2017, the PACC has recommended the preventive suspension of Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendel Gingoyon and former Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan who cleared high-profile personalities of drug charges.