More corrupt gov’t execs to be dismissed, prosecuted by December — Duterte

Published November 3, 2020, 10:02 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

More government officials involved in corruption will face dismissal and prosecution by December, President Duterte declared Monday as part of his intensified campaign to clean up the bureaucracy.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The President renewed his resolve to combat corruption after tagging dozens of corruption-linked officials from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

“The next round will be by December,” Duterte said during a public briefing on government’s disaster relief efforts Monday night. “Many will lose their jobs, many will be separated from the government, many will face prosecution, and many will go to jail,” he said.

The President read the names of several suspended government officials during his remarks, saying he has a duty to inform the public about the anti-corruption efforts.

Duterte first disclosed the names of 13 PhilHealth officials, including former PhilHealth president Roy Ferrer, who, he said, have been suspended and are no longer with the state health firm. He also mentioned the suspension order issued by the Office of Ombudsman against eight more PhilHealth officials.

Around 44 immigration employees allegedly involved in the “pastillas scheme” have also been suspended by the Ombudsman, according to the President. Such a list of officials might grow to 70, he added.

Under the scheme, some immigration personnel allegedly accepted bribes from Chinese nationals in exchange for easy entry into and exit from the country. The grease money was rolled up in bond paper like the Filipino delicacy.

“Itong pastillas, marami ito. Aabot ito ng mga 70. Wala ka pa diyan, Art. Wala ka pa diyan, Mark, nandiyan na iyan sila, matagal na iyan (On the pastillas scheme, there is a lot. It will reach 70. You were not yet there Art (Tugade) and Mark (Villar). They were already there. They’ve been there for a long time),” Duterte said.

“Sa immigration, may mga ano diyan official, they are allowed 10 or 20 na pasok na walang ano, pero siyempre hihingi ng pera iyan. Iyan ang racket diyan. Maski iyong mga opisyal diyan (In the immigration bureau, officials allow 10 or 20 to enter without documents but will ask for money. That’s the racket),” he said.

In the customs bureau, the President said, 20 officials were dismissed, four others suspended, and four reprimanded. He added that 135 customs personnel are under investigation while 45 have been administratively charged.

Duterte said he was “dissatisfied” with the action of the BoC, insisting that both criminal and administrative complaints must be pursued against erring public servants.

The President said he intends to combat corruption in the bureaucracy during the remainder of his term. Duterte, whose six-year term will end in 2022, said he does not tolerate corruption since it drags his entire administration.

“I will dedicate the last two years or whatever is left of my term to fight corruption,” he said.

“Kung mahilig ka ng pera, papakainin ko sa iyo, ipapakain ko talaga sa iyo. Iyan ako (If you like money, I will make you eat it). Sa kabastos mo, you will eat money in front of me. Iyan ang style ko. It is not nice. It is wrong. It could even be a criminal act but just the same, I’ll do it,” he added.