Duterte: Probe corrupt Palace execs, expose them, send them to jail

Published July 23, 2019, 11:31 AM

by Rica Arevalo

By Genalyn Kabiling

Any investigation into alleged corruption in the executive branch can be launched anytime, and President Duterte will not take offense.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Batasan on Monday. Photo by Jansen Romero
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Batasan on Monday. (Photo by Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

Frustrated with widespread corruption in the bureaucracy, the President affirmed that he actually welcomes any probe that would help expose the “idiots” involved in corruption and send them to jail.

“Corruption is everywhere. You are free to investigate. I don’t take offense. If there is anything wrong in my department, the Executive, you are free to open the investigation anytime,” Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address before a joint session of Congress on Monday.

“You do not have to call me. Call the idiots, expose them, and send them to jail. You are helping me. I’ve been a prosecutor. I know how it works. Feel free. Feel free to expose anything that is not in accordance with law,” he added.

Duterte acknowledged that corruption, which has become pervasive in government, has become “both a national embarrassment and a national shame.”

“We find corruption everywhere in government with every malefactor watching his cohort’s back in blatant disregard of his oath when he assumed public office. Even the language has evolved to soften the wickedness of the criminal act,” he said.

“‘For the Boys,’ ‘sponsoring an event’ or what-else-have-you. No amount of euphemism can trivialize or normalize betrayal of public trust or any other criminal offense. It is an injury laced with insult. It is both a national embarrassment and a national shame,” he said.

He further said, “For every transaction, a commission; for every action, extortion; and a request that goes on and on – endlessly and shamelessly.”

Duterte said the nation actually needed a “catharsis” today, stressing that “self-purgation followed by the resolve to do what is right and proper, is good for the nation’s health.”

To combat red tape in the bureaucracy, the President has also ordered government agencies to simplify procedures and ensure “client-friendly” services amid complaints about poor and inefficient services.

Based on the complaints received by his office, Duterte said the Land Transportation Office, Social Security System, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Land Registration Authority, and PAG-IBIG fund are “the top five agencies that need to drastically improve their service.”

“I reiterate my directive to the government and instrumentalities, including the LGUs and the government corporations: simplify. May I… Nandito ba kayo? Simplify. Just like the others. You can do it electronically. You do not have to go to the office,” he said.

“I’ve been asking that from you since three years ago. ‘Pag hindi pa ninyo nagawa ‘yan ngayon, papatayin ko talaga kayo. Nabubwisit na [If you can’t do that now, I will really kill you. I’m getting annoyed],” he added.

Duterte said he signed the law on promoting the ease of doing business and efficient government service delivery but until now “much has to be done” in ensuring the government’s responsiveness to the people’s needs.

To the country’s mayors, the president told them to ensure the processing of government permits and other documents to be completed within three days.

“I am directing you publicly mayors — mayors. I am directing also the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), Secretary (Eduardo) Año of the local government to see to it that this is honored. All clearances, permits emanating from your office that would need also your approval, must be out at the very least within three days,” he said.

“I want three days, unless there is an exceptional reason, three days, para hindi na magpa-balik-balik kasi diyan ang perahan eh [so they will not go back and forth because that’s where corruption comes in],” he added.

Duterte also appealed anew to the public to be “assertive” and report to his office any complaint of corruption and inefficiency in government. He said the Palace is “open 24 hours” to accept corruption complaints.

“I said: the Filipinos if it is done to you, I’m telling you, slap the guy, create a scene, create a scandal because that incident, however little, will reach me. And if it does, you can be sure, if I do not call you and the idiot, I will go there myself. That is a promise, that is a pledge,” he said.

He noted that the government has increased the number of lines for hotline 8888 to effectively address public grievances. “Our ultimate goal is for our people to be freed from using these hotlines because government service and response have markedly improved,” he said.

He also asked the public to demand efficient service from government, saying they can slap those who ask for bribe in exchange for faster transactions.

“Kindly be assertive. Pagka hiningian ka, sabihin mo, “T*** *** mo. Sabi ni Duterte, [If you’re asked for money, tell him ‘you son of a b*tch, Duterte said], the President told us, that if you extort money from me, I will slap you,'” he said. “At sampalin talaga ninyo. Hindi na bale magkaaway [Slap them regardless if there will be a fight] I will defend you,” he added.