By Genalyn Kabiling
In the wake of the bribery scandal plaguing the Bureau of Immigration (BI), President Duterte announced Tuesday that he intends to finalize the list of immigration personnel to be dismissed from their posts.
“Today I have to complete the list of officials that I’m going to fire, to dismiss from the BID, sa Bureau of Immigration,” the President said at the oath-taking of new presidential appointees in Malacañang.
“Ayaw ko kasi ‘yung iba kilala ko, kaya lang ‘yung iba mga brod ko, ‘yung iba (I don’t like it because I know some of them. Some are my bros, others) were with me in ’88 when I first ran for the mayorship,” he added.
The President, however, asserted that he is “unforgiving” when it comes to corruption. Given his zero tolerance for corruption, Duterte said he has fired many officials who have been implicated in irregularities.
“Wala akong patawad sa corruption (I am unforgiving on corruption),” he said.
“Almost everyday may pinapaalis ako na tao. Sinesikreto ko na lang na umalis ka na lang (Almost everyday I’ve dismissed people. I secretly ask them to just leave),” he added.
Last month, the President relieved immigration officials and employees allegedly involved in the ‘pastillas’ bribery scheme. Chinese nationals working in offshore gaming companies reportedly paid bribes to some immigration personnel in exchange for their smooth entry into the country.
According to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, the President considers such anomalies “as a grave form of corruption which cannot be countenanced by the government.”
Panelo also insisted that there would be “no sacred cows” in the Duterte administration amid efforts to combat corruption.
“Any official or employee who commits any wrong in the performance of their respective duties shall be meted out with the punishment that they deserve and in accordance with our penal laws,” he said when the ‘pastillas’ scandal broke last month.
Shun corruption, obey laws
Meantime, the President reminded the new government officials to render public service with “integrity, impartiality, and independence.” He said they should remain vigilant and lead the fight against corruption and other unethical moves that diminish public trust.
“As government workers, we are duty bound to defend the Constitution, obey all laws, and discharge our duties with utmost efficiency, honesty, and competence,” he said.
The new officials were encouraged to “lead by example, inspire fellow public servants to lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal wants.”
Duterte also told the new officials to “deny” any request of his family and relatives with regard to government transactions or projects.
He said they should reject such requests even if there is “no error, no mistake, or no infirmity in the contract.”
He warned that he would hold them accountable if they accommodate any request from his family and kin.