More government officials to be axed, says Roque

IN pursuit of a corrupt-free government, several government officials, including high-ranking police officers, will soon be fired as an investigation is currently being conducted for their alleged involvement in anomalies and frequent junkets.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Thursday at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City that before December 10, he was informed that quite a number of government officials will be sacked this year.

He, however, refused to divulge their identities and he is not certain yet on the number. He said police officers and colonels are also on the list.

Roque added that the investigation is almost over. Once finalized, he assured that the public will be informed.

“Sinabi sa akin na halos tapos na,” he said.

In January 2018 alone, there were already two government officials who were terminated from the service including Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III and Philippine Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chairperson Terry Ridon for their frequent trips abroad.

Roque reiterated the thrust of the National Government under President Rodrigo Duterte to wipe out corrupt officials in the government post.

He said Amaro was terminated due to the 24 foreign travels he embarked on from 2016 to 2017.

Roque said the Office of the President received complaints on December 22 from the employees of Marina on Amaro’s frequent trips abroad.

Based on the complaint, Amaro had 11 foreign trips. Thus, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to investigate the alleged junkets. The investigation revealed that the former chief had 18 trips in 2017 alone and six in 2016.

He noted that only three of these trips are sponsored and the rest were paid by the government with additional honorarium in all his trips abroad. Following the release of result, the President immediately ordered his dismissal.

“Marching order (is) do your job well, serve the people well and do not engage in junkets,” he said.

Earlier, Presidential Commission on Urban Poor chief Terry Ridon was also sacked by President Rodrigo due to alleged unnecessary trips.

“We underscore the fact that previously, chair Terry Ridon was also terminated because of seven foreign travel and seven was deemed excessive by the President,” he said.

Meanwhile, Roque said there is no replacement for Amaro yet.

Roque underscored that this move should serve as a reminder to all government officials not to engage in excessive trips especially now that there is already guidelines on foreign travels of all government officials and personnel in the executive department.

“Let this be a reminder to all public officials that the President is serious in his mandate that they should live a modest life, that they should be true to their calling and that they should avoid unnecessary trips,” he said, while noting that Amaro’s trips are official except for one, he said the point of the President was that officials must be selective in the trips that they will embark on.

“The guidelines were issued, foreign trips must be related to the functions of the government, it must not be too pricey, costly and the benefits to the country of that trip must be substantial,” Roque said.that the Office of the President received complaints on December 22 from the employees of Marina on Amaro’s frequent trips abroad.

Based on the complaint, Amaro had 11 foreign trips. Thus, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to investigate the alleged junkets. The investigation revealed that the former chief had 18 trips in 2017 alone and six in 2016.

He noted that only three of these trips are sponsored and the rest were paid by the government with additional honorarium in all his trips abroad. Following the release of result, the President immediately ordered his dismissal.
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