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Rody hits unnamed gov’t exec over lavish travels

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte assailed an unnamed official who allegedly took lavish foreign trips as he reminded public servants to maintain a simple lifestyle.

Duterte said the official – not from the executive branch – had booked first class flights and stayed in expensive hotels.

“There is one official here in government, we looked into the travel (expenses), not from my department,” the President said during dinner for the Philippine Air Force Dragon Boat Team in Malacañang late Tuesday.     

“(The official) booked a first-class plane trip and stayed in hotels with suites, one of them a presidential suite. Son of a b****,” he added.

Duterte did not name names but warned that the details about the official’s lifestyle would eventually come out.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella could not identify the official criticized by Duterte in his speech.

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“Let us wait… let us clarify the nature of that remark. Let’s wait for it to be clarified,” Abella said yesterday.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has filed an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, accusing the chief magistrate of granting travel allowances to her staff without the approval of the court. No lawmaker has endorsed the complaint.

Duterte also hit former interior secretary Ismael Sueno, whom he dismissed for his alleged involvement in the questionable purchase of fire trucks from Austria.

“A Cabinet member went to Washington to stroll around. He went back… He went to Austria to buy a fire truck worth P18 million a piece,” Duterte had said.

“He had 10 policemen for bodyguards. I said ‘who would kill you? You won’t be known if I did not appoint you,’” he added.

Duterte vowed to continue his crackdown on corruption, one of the campaign promises that helped him win the presidential race.

“I have fired several people now. I am not announcing it because some of them have children who are already doctors and lawyers. There will be backlash in the family and it’s not good,” the President said.

Duterte said he has prohibited Cabinet members from using special plate numbers and using sirens except during emergency situations.

“I am a son of a poor man. But now nobody will believe me if I claim to be poor. I am now the President,” he said.  

“But I try to keep things simple as possible,” he added.

Duterte stressed that government officials should maintain a modest lifestyle. He said Cabinet members should buy ordinary cars and not show off their luxury vehicles.

“Do not show off your Land Cruiser. I will be envious because I cannot buy it,” the President said.

“I really want simplicity for all. You can see it with the way I act. I do not want a grand entrance or something like that, he added.”

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