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More heads to roll

Kristina Maralit

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Stressing that there is no place for corruption in government, President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday bared more officials’ heads are on the chopping block this week.

He lamented the sluggish process citizens have to endure in different government offices to conduct business

The Chief Executive made this disclosure during the 25th Annual Convention of the National Federation of Motorcycle Clubs of the Philippines in Puerto Princesa, Palawan over the weekend.

He lamented the sluggish process citizens have to endure in different government offices to conduct business. It has to stop, he said.

“Every table in government, there’s greed and there’s always a monkey wrench. Every table in the process, there’s corruption,” the President said.

“That’s why when I get back (to Malacañang), maybe (Monday), I’ll be firing a lot of people simply for corruption,” the President stressed.

Mr. Duterte also mentioned his frustration over delays in land conversion applications.

“The authority to convert is given to a certain person. And then you’ll make the people go back-and-forth for two years. To me that is corruption. Nothing else. The meaning of that is you want money,” he stated.

Although he did not mention any name nor an agency, Daily Tribune sources claimed the President could be referring to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones.

Castriciones is spearheading the administration’s efforts to streamline the conversion of agricultural lands for commercial use in 30 days from the usual process that takes a two to three-year period.

The President extended the warning to other government workers in all national agencies. He reiterated that the Philippines will not be a fully developed and progressive country if corruption and concerns about law and order persist.

Since the start of his term, the Chief Executive has sacked 151 officials and employees from government service over corruption allegations and other violations.

In 2018, the President has fired some 22 government and military personnel for reported corrupt practices.

For the first three months of 2019, meanwhile, some 48 public workers have been given the boot.

‘Corrupt to the core’

The Chief Executive, as he campaigned for the administration’s senatorial bets in Malabon City last week, described the Philippines as “corrupt to the core.”

In the Executive Branch, Mr. Duterte assured corruption is non-existent as he has “direct control” over the Cabinet.

“Me, no documents pass through me. Contracts regarding the trains, MRT, LRT, reclamation, they don’t reach me. They start and end with the Cabinet. You cannot fault me for even a peso. I do not allow transactions, documents to land on my table,” he said.

“I have direct control over the Cabinet members. Because I’m supposed to lead but I cannot be the Defense Secretary all the time, the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Secretary. I function through Cabinet members. I have no problem. You have no problem up here. There is no corruption,” he assured.

Mr. Duterte, however, can only exercise supervision when it comes to elected officials and trust they “do what is right.”

“You ask me whether I can control corruption in all government agencies. I will tell you this: the Philippines is corrupt to the core. It has different forms whether in the city hall or at the national level,” he declared.

“Those below — the elected officials — I have no control (over them), just supervision. This is where massive corruption happens,” he added, citing the issuance of business permits as an example of a milking cow of corrupt local officials.

With this, he made an appeal to the public to help him rid his administration of graft and corruption and urged them to directly report to him if they’ve been a victim of any government official or employee asking for grease money during transactions.

“Do not be a victim. If you are asked for money, go to Malacanang, report it to me. I will tell the presidential guards to let you in,” Mr. Duterte said.

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