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Headlines

Duterte: I will be harsh

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

• Judges warned on TROs for sale

• Business playing field to be leveled

• 3-day wait for gov’t services, no queueing

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – He won’t interfere in their work and won’t ask anyone to do any wrongful act. But president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has given his newly appointed officials several marching orders to carry out his mandate to crack down on  drugs, corruption and criminality.

“I will be harsh. I will be harsh. Basta corruption, I will be harsh,” Duterte said at a press conference late yesterday afternoon, after members of his Cabinet and officials of several other agencies were announced.

Among other things, he wants an end to long queues at government offices. All public transactions with government must be finished within 72 hours, he said, and anyone who fails to carry out this order must have a valid explanation for the delay.

In the age of computers, he said he saw no reason for long waits for official documents.

To the business community, Duterte gave assurance that “I will level, really level the playing field.”

And even if the judiciary is a co-equal, independent branch, he said he would talk with authorities to put an end to the abuse of temporary restraining orders.

“TRO nang TRO. The TRO simply means money for the judges. They have to stop it,” Duterte said.

co-equal, independent branch, he said he would talk with authorities to put an end to the abuse of temporary restraining orders.

“TRO nang TRO. The TRO simply means money for the judges. They have to stop it,” Duterte said.

A day after his proclamation as 16th president of the Philippines, Duterte said the issuance of TROs has prevented the implementation of projects. He said he would send a representative to the Supreme Court to discuss the issue.

“When I certify (a project) as president, when everything is OK, if I give the go-signal, there is no corruption. No money changed hands there,” he said. “If you don’t believe me, I don’t care. The people chose me.”

Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, won by a landslide with more than 16.6 million votes, a phenomenon he attributed to people’s desire to curb corruption.

“People outside Davao do not know me. Why did they vote for me and give me a 16 million mandate? I’m just a mayor of this city in Mindanao and my rivals have more exposure,” the tough-talking mayor said.  “It could only mean that there is a message for that: People do not want corruption. They do not want their money put inside the pockets of workers of government.”

Duterte reiterated that all public documents should be released within three days to avoid queues.

“I don’t want people queuing. Just give him a day to come back for his paper,” he said. “Whether the permit is approved or disapproved, it has to be released in three days. If more than that, you cannot release the paper anymore, but you sign a paper of explanation why it took you more than 72 hours.”

Duterte said citizens should not pay for something that they deserve to get from the government.

“I don’t want people spending money just to get something from government for the simple reason that we are already paid. That’s why you pay taxes,” he added.

Duterte also promised to clean up what he described as “corrupt agencies,” namely the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Customs and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

The next president also said he would prohibit military and police officers from taking along with them their staff in their next assignments. He said the restriction would prevent payoffs that are practiced from police field units to the highest officials.

“You don’t have to bring 15 to 30 persons along when in another assignment,” Duterte said.

APPOINTMENT PAPERS: Photos show Duterte aide Christopher Go’s handwritten notes, listing the names of officials of the incoming administration.

Bounty for drug dealers

The TRO simply means money for the judges. They have to stop it.

Duterte also plans to institute a bounty system that would reward those who would run after drug dealers. He said the bounty would come from his excess campaign funds.

“The order is dead or alive… If they raise their hands, alive. If they fight back, dead,” he said.

“I could go as far as maybe 100 persons dead.”

Duterte said the reward for security forces who would run after drug lords would range from P50,000 to P3 million.

He assured the public that law enforcers “know when it is legal to kill, when it is unlawful to take a man’s life.”

Duterte said he had told the incoming director of the National Bureau of Investigation that if an NBI agent is found to be involved in drug deals, “I want you to kill him personally. I want you to do the killing.”

Media, too

To NBI chief: If you have an agent involved (in drugs), I want you to kill him personally. I want you to do the killing.

The media was also not spared from Duterte’s tirades against corruption. He said many of the journalists who were killed were also guilty of wrongdoing.

“Most of those who were killed were paid or were accepting from gamblers but continued to write critical pieces. If you want the truth, that’s the truth. There is corruption on your side,” Duterte said. “Why would a journalist be killed if he is just a journalist? No one will touch you especially if (you are telling what is) true.”

Duterte said other journalists take sides or are resorting to personal attacks.

“It’s not because you’re a journalist, you’re exempted from assassination,” he said.

NUJP takes offense

Get criminals dead or alive? Pag tumaas ang kamay, alive yun.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) yesterday strongly objected to Duterte’s remarks blaming the killing of journalists to corruption among their ranks.

NUJP chairman Ryan Rosauro said the pronouncements indicate that it was okay to kill journalists if they are corrupt.

“We take exception to the pronouncements of president-elect Duterte that tends to suggest it is okay to get a journalist killed if he or she is involved in a corrupt practice,” Rosauro said in a statement which appreared on GMA News online.  “We would like to stress that extra-judicial killing will not eliminate media corruption which is a systemic problem as much as a question of professional ethics.”

Rosauro said media plays a key role in exposing wrongdoing in government even if some of its members are involved in graft.

“We also stress that journalists were killed because of their work in exposing corruption and malfeasance in government,” Rosauro said.”Hence, no matter the weaknesses of Philippine media, it will be a major factor in any effort to cleanse govt of the scourge of graft and corruption.”

STANLEY PRINGLE TERRENCE ROMEO
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