By Genalyn Kabiling
Apart from punishing those who fail to improve their peace and order situation, President Duterte has vowed to run after local government officials who engage in corruption.
The President said he has supervisory power over local government units as he affirmed that he does not tolerate corruption even in the local level.
Duterte added he does not mind if the local officials would not follow his freedom of information directive in the Executive branch as long as they keep their noses clean.
“Kung sabihin mo ayaw mong maniwala, fine. But kung merong puputok diyan, diyan kita iipitin [If you say you don’t want to believe, fine. But if something erupts there, I will pin you down],” Duterte said during a recent media interview in Bohol.
“But if everything is clean, there is no corruption, there is no nothing. Walang nagreklamo, Eh di okay lang [If no one complains, then it’s fine],” he added.
In a bid to enhance transparency and accountability in government acts, transactions or decisions, the President issued Executive Order No. 2 promoting public disclosure and transparency in the Executive branch.
EO 2 covers all government offices under the Executive branch while local government units are only encouraged to observe and be guided by the order.
Duterte, in his recent remarks, admitted that that lgus are not forced to comply with EO 2 but reminded them to avoid getting involved in corrupt practices such violating government procurement rules.
“As a matter of fact, that Executive Order is used if you just follow the law. The problem is when you do not follow the law and you tinker with other things, ‘yung mga negotiated contracts and you follow a certain set of rules na hindi kasali doon sa ‘yung mga bidding-bidding, ‘yan ang mahirap [the negotiated contracts and you follow a certain set of rules not part of the bidding, that’s the hard part],” he said.
“Ngayon, pag sinabing ayaw mong sumunod, okay lang ‘yan. Huwag ka lang magkaroon ng problema. Pagka magkaroon ka ng problema, diyan ka na talaga — magsakit ulo mo [Now, if you don’t want to follow, that’s fine. Just don’t get into trouble. If you get into trouble, you’ll really have a headache],” he added.
In his earlier speech before the national assembly of vice mayors in Bohol, the President has also threatened to strip the mayors of their supervision and control over the police and seek their removal from office if they combat crime and drugs in their areas.
Duterte said mayors who are not doing their job would face charges of neglect of duty and eventual dismissal from their post.
He said the police could temporarily become the “mayors” in terms of addressing the peace and order problems in their towns.
“Kung mayor ka, you are the president of your municipality. My God, how come ang tataas ng crime rates ninyo? [your crime rates are high?]” he said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has already been directed by the President to conduct an audit on the performance of the local government officials in the fight against crimes and illegal drugs.
The President has dismay with the “nonchalant attitude” of some local government leaders in addressing these problems.