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Duterte says he’s set to fire more officials

Philippine president warns against corruption and extortion

Gulf News

Manila: President Rodrigo Duterte said a government agency head, three military generals and 49 policemen will be sacked because of corruption. He did not give their names.

“I am firing another chairman of an entity in government maybe this week and another set of policemen. I am in the thick of firing people. I intend to fire maybe 70 or 49 policemen and three generals for corruption. This is really a purging regime. I’ll be spending a lot of time just to clean up government,” Duterte said during an event of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor, which regulates the country’s gambling industry) at Manila Hotel late Friday night.

He did not give out names.

Addressing Pagcor employees and businessmen applying for gaming permits, Duterte said, “Please avoid graft and corruption whether you are the giver or the receiver.”

“If your permit goes beyond three days on any table there, just call me. I will get it to you for free. If there are problems in this department, call me. I will go to the department concerned, together with you. I will get the papers for you,” said Duterte who released the Citizens’ Complaint Hotline 8888.

“Do not give in to extortionists. Be it the police, the Bureau of Internal Revenue or Customs [officials] because if I find out, I’ll make it hard for you.”

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said, “He hates the corrupt, those who frequently go on junkets. When you attend junkets, you spend people’s money that should have been used to address their needs. Aside from that, you lose time for your responsibilities in government.”

Duterte has fired 11 government chiefs so far. On January 4, Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Marcial Amaro was fired for making 24 foreign trips in 2016 and 2017.

In December, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chair Terry Ridon was fired because of seven foreign trips. Four PCUP commissioners were also fired because they held only one or two meetings after their appointments.

In October 2017, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) head Jose Vicente Salazar was fired for unilaterally approving — without approval from other commissioners — the appointment of one ERC commission and a company’s request for the renewal of distribution of utilities.

In May 2017, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Benjamin Reyes was axed for contradicting Duterte’s official number of drug addicts.

In April 2017, Interior Secretary Esmail Sueno was fired for the irregular purchase of Rosenbauer firetrucks from Austria; and Cabinet Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Valdez of the office of the Cabinet Secretary, for overruling National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino’s decision to suspend rice importation.

In March 2017, former campaign spokesperson and head of National Irrigation Administration (Nia) Peter Tiu Lavina resigned from his post because of rumours that he asked for money from contractors.

When he campaigned for the May 2016 presidential elections, Duterte said he would stop corruption in government. After his election, he warned he would fire government officials “even [with] a whiff or a whisper of corruption [filed against them]”.