Duterte's anti-corruption drive targets local officials next

AFTER firing several presidential appointees for corruption, President Rodrigo Duterte now wants to look into the reported anomalies of local government officials, including those from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte emphasized during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, January 8, his intent to "clean up the ranks" of local government executives.

Roque said this is in line with the Chief Executive's commitment to "promote public accountability" among public servants.

"The President mentioned in the Cabinet meeting his resolve also to clean up the ranks of the local government executives to highlight that it’s not just presidential appointees that would be subject to this campaign to promote public accountability but includes everyone in government," he said.

"The President stated that he will continue with the process of cleansing the bureaucracy. And that he will now turn more of his attention to local government units, including the Autonomous Region of Muslim MIndanao," he added.

Duterte, who pledged to rid his government of corruption, has sacked various government officials because of their supposed irregularities and incompetence.

Just last week, Duterte fired Maritime Industry Authority administrator Marcial Amaro III over reports that he took "excessive" overseas trips.

Prior to this, the President also sacked former Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chairperson Terry Ridon over "unnecessary" travels abroad.

Also, among those removed from office were former Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, National Irrigation Administration chief Peter Laviña, and former Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima.

In October last year, Duterte signed Executive Order 43, which formed the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) tasked to investigate administrative cases against any government officials. The PACC, however, has yet to be constituted.

Roque said Duterte has "firm resolve" to fight corruption, even though the anti-corruption commission is yet to be constituted.

"The President has not waited for its constitution before he has started actually the purging of corrupt officials in government. As you know, even without the commission, he has gone ahead and fired many of his presidential apppointees," the presidential spokesman said.

"He is not waiting for its constitution before he moves against corruption. He has shown that with or without it, he has a firm resolve against corruption and he will implement it," he added. (SunStar Philippines)
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