By Genalyn Kabiling
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar will now have the final say over the appointment, termination, and other personnel actions in the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) pending an investigation on Director General Harold Clavite for alleged corruption.
Andanar has confirmed that he issued Department Order No. 006 stating he will serve as the “final approving authority” for such personnel actions within the PIA, an attached agency of the PCOO.
The latest move sought to “ensure the integrity of the investigation” into the corruption allegations hurled against Clavite, according to the order.
“All personnel actions within the PIA shall require the final approval of the PCOO Secretary. Personnel actions include, but are not limited to, the following: hiring, appointment, transfer, detail, secondment, suspension and termination of PIA officials, employees and personnel,” the order read.
The order also stated that the PIA Director General and the Deputy Director General will work with the PCOO Secretary “in ensuring the proper human resource management within the PIA head office and regional offices.”
The order, signed by Andanar last June 10, took effect immediately. A copy of the department order was obtained by the Manila Bulletin.
The PCOO has control and supervision of attached agencies, bureaus and offices including the PIA. The PIA serves as the government’s official public information arm and its director general reports directly to the PCOO Secretary.
According to the same department order, the PCOO’s Office of the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs (OLA) has launched an investigation on Clavite after receiving “documented reports” about allegations of corruption against him.
“The OLA issued a letter to the Director-General directing him to explain the documented accusations,” the order read.
“The OLA is currently conducting an investigation to determine the existence of probable cause against the Director-General,” it said.
PCOO Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Marvin Gatpayat earlier said Clavite would not be placed under preventive suspension despite the ongoing inquiry. He explained that preventive suspension could only be issued once a formal charge has been issued by the disciplining authority.
On whether a complaint will be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman, he said this would depend on the results of the investigation.
He also assured the public that the PCOO is “serious” in combating corruption and would ensure the prosecution of anyone involved in wrongdoing. “The PCOO is very serious about anti-corruption and we will try our best to ensure that cases be filed if there’s any findings of corruption,” he said in a text message.
Clavite has dismissed the baseless and unsubstantiated corruption allegations against him, saying these were part of a demolition job by some disgruntled groups following his wide-ranging reforms in the agency.
Nonetheless, the PIA chief vowed to answer the allegations in the proper forum when the time comes.