Duterte promises more heads will roll upon Manila return

Published March 24, 2018, 3:39 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Having revealed his initial dissatisfaction with the performance of some of his Cabinet members, President Duterte said that he will be dismissing more presidential appointees upon his return to Manila.

Duterte made the statement in his speech delivered in Bisaya at the 16th founding anniversary of the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development Inc. Friday evening.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the 16th founding anniversary of the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development, Inc. (STCPD) at the 3rd Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Calinan, Davao City on March 23, 2018, criticizes the idea of a coalition government proposed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for he believes that it would bypass the democratic process of electing a leader which is chosen by the people. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

According to Duterte, while he may not be able to do what he wants with the entire government due to its branches being equals, the President vowed to clean the Executive Branch.

“Kanang mga nagpadato diha, tinuod na. Nganong ikalimod man nato? Pero giingnan ta mo sa akong panahon. Di nako kontrolado ang gobyerno eh. Separate na unya equal. Kahibawo man mo ana (There are people there who only really wants to get rich. But I already warned them that not during my watch. I cannot control the government. It is separate but equal. You know that),” Duterte said.

“Ang Executive Department, ako. Kaya ko ni. Pila na’y akong gipahawa? Daghan na. Hantod — pagbalik nako sa Manila, naa pa gud koy patalsikon (But in the Executive Department, I can do it. How many have I fired already? There are already a lot of them. I will be dismissing more people when I return to Manila),” he added.

“Ang congressman, di gyud nako kaya. Eh ‘di dili ta manghilabot nila. Labi na gyud ang Supreme Court (I can’t do that with the Congressmen. Let’s not meddle with their affairs. Especially not with the Supreme Court),” he continued.

Malacañang earlier reported that Duterte will spend the Holy Week in Mindanao, particularly in his hometown Davao City. Last year, the President spent the Holy Week in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.

The President did not provide any details as to who will be on the chopping board this time, and for what reasons. However, he earlier hinted of a looming revamp in the Cabinet, saying he is unhappy with the performance of some of his appointees.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had confirmed this in a television interview early this month.

“Talagang sabi niya na merong mga secretary na hindi siya happy sa performance at magkakaroon nga daw po ng mga pagbabago sa Gabinete (He really said he was not happy with the performance of some of his secretaries and there will be changes in the Cabinet),” Roque said in a television interview.

Duterte started expressing his dissatisfaction with his Cabinet after it was reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the charges filed against high-profile drug suspects Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim, among others.

The President also warned Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to send him to jail instead if the said drug suspects would be freed unpunished.

However, Malacañang said that despite Duterte’s remarks, Aguirre still enjoys the full trust and confidence of the President.

“Kung wala na po kasing tiwala iyan ay hindi na po hihintayin ni Pangulo ang pagbibitiw, talagang sisibakin na po (The President will not wait for that person to resign if he already lost trust in them. He will really fire them),” Roque said.

Among the officials Duterte fired or asked to resign over loss of trust and confidence include former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) head Peter Laviña, former Interior secretary Ismael Sueno, and former Information and Communications Technology secretary Rodolfo Salalima.