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PIA Press Release

OPAPP chief takes different approach on fighting corruption

by RG Alama

Davao City (16 June) -- Instead of naming and shaming those suspected involved in a corruption case in her office. Presidential Peace Adviser Anabelle Abaya has taken on a different tack.

"The documents have been submitted to the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman; they can probe deeper into the case," Abaya said.

The P170-million fund mess which consists of illegal allowances and disbursements was first discovered during her first day of office, when a staff told Abaya that a set of certain officials would be receiving these certain amount. Shocked with the funds involved, Abaya went to the Palace to ask if there are indeed allocations for these disbursements, when the answer was no. Abaya decided to act accordingly. And in the process of investigating she uncovered more anomalies.

"I didn't want to be the judge, but this is something very wrong, something that we could not accept," Abaya said. She admitted during her recent interview with the Davao media that she had sleepless nights when she uncovered the anomaly.

She said it could have been easy to name these officials and put it out in the media in a shame campaign. But Abaya cited her former media exposure as former press secretary during Fidel Ramos time, which led her to take a different approach, one which involves consensus-building and value-formation.

Abaya first conducted general assemblies in her office with the aim of trying to find the solution to the problem; the assemblies were then narrowed down to discussion groups. Of which solutions taken would be applied. She also discussed the problem with the predecessors (Hermogenes Esperon, Avelino Razon and Jesus Dureza).

Since she is new in office, the natural tendency would be to blame her predecessors during which the anomaly happened during their watch. Instead of accusing them, she approached OPPAP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) former heads and asked for help in solving the problem.

Abaya said the case is now in the hands of the Office of the Ombudsman. She said her current focus is putting OPAPP back on track as she is winding down her term. (PIA XI) [top]

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