President Duterte admitted the presence of “corruption” in his administration, but not on the level of his Cabinet officials.
“Meron. Meron sa gobyerno (It exists in government)…I would be lying if I say there is no corruption,” Duterte said during the pre-recorded “Talk to the People” public briefing on Wednesday night, Sept. 15. The briefing was aired on Thursday morning, Sept. 16.
“In some other offices now, agencies, departments, there are [instances of corruption],” he said.
“But I’m making you this guarantee–Cabinet members ko, wala yan. Puro malinis yan (There’s no corruption among my Cabinet members. All of them are clean),” underscored Duterte.
The Cabinet officials refer to the persons installed by Duterte as head of the different departments and agencies of government. These officials are often described as the “alter-egos” of the President, meaning their actions and words are as good as that of the one seated in Malacañang.
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III is one such official. Duterte has consistently defended Duque from claims of irregularity coming from the Senate’s investigation on the government’s procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) supplies last year.
According to Duterte, it’s the senators who are invovled in corruption, although he only mentioned one of them during the Thursday briefing.
“Ang mga senador meron. [Senator Richard] Gordon is one (Senators are involved in corruption. Gordon is one),” he said.
Duterte has previously accused Gordon of using the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which the latter chairs, as his personal election campaign kitty .
On Thursday, the Chiet Executive wondered out loud why PRC charges poor Filipinos money in exchange for blood, even if the blood it acquired came from blood donation drives.
Duterte further slammed the senators for their alleged grandstanding in the televised investigations on supposed corruption in the current administration.
“Even if we continue to hear this case until kingdom come, I do not think you will get anything there except that you want to dance before the…public opinion, so that you’ll be noticed and maybe try to impress the voters in this coming election that you are an intellectual, that you are a ghostbuster sa mga katiwalian sa gobyerno (of corruption in government),” he said.