Duterte again says heâs ready to resign
President Duterte said he is ready to attend a question hour in Congress to openly discuss ways to fight corruption in the bureaucracy.
The STAR/KJ Rosales, file
Duterte again says he’s ready to resign
Christina Mendez, Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has expressed exasperation anew over the state of corruption in the government, prompting him to think about resigning from his post barely two years before his six-year term ends.

“I offered to resign as President,” he said, noting that corruption has become so prevalent despite his efforts to eradicate it.

Duterte said he is ready to attend a question hour in Congress to openly discuss ways to fight corruption in the bureaucracy.

The President has been in public service for more than 30 years until he became Chief Executive in 2016. He ran on the platform of eradicating corruption and illegal drugs.

“In my years of working in the government, there is no end since (I was) mayor. But being a mayor is just a small organization. Corruption is really never-ending. It is really hard to stop,” he said.

Duterte mentioned among others the alleged “pastillas” scheme in the Department of Justice, wherein his former fraternity brother and friend, Vitallano Aguire II, was implicated.

“The scheme proliferates until now,” he said, referring to the so-called pastillas gang operating inside the National Bureau of Investigation, wherein alleged bribe money is offered in exchanged for favors such as releasing suspects or the dropping of charges.

“Even with the investigation or the clamor for government to be…  I said to shake the tree, nothing. Until now, it’s being committed everyday,” he said.

In a telecast address to the nation on Monday night, Duterte expressed disappointment that he again threatened to expose a government agency, which dilly-dallied in processing certain documents.

He said he has reiterated his appeal to Congress to craft more relevant laws that would help the Executive branch fight corruption in the government.

“I appeal again to Congress. I cannot fight corruption. I cannot find an answer on how to remove people who are resisting moves of the government to improve,” he said.

Duterte met with the Senate and House leadership two weeks ago to discuss priority measures that would help the Executive branch deal with the problem.

“Congress might want to enact a legislation. You know it has not been done for the… you know not in the Philippines. It’s only done in parliamentary countries where the prime minister is grilled during the Question Hour,” Duterte said.

“But I want Congress to know that I’m ready to appear before them and discuss with them. But they should allow me to talk first then discuss how we can cut corruption. Simplify the ease of doing business. I have some recommendation, almost radical,” he said.

Sen. Bong Go warned corrupt government officials and employees not to test the present administration as the President is willing to shame them.

Go expressed his full support for Senate Bill 1844, which seeks to authorize the President during times of national emergency to suspend the requirements in securing national and local permits, licenses and certifications.

The same bill seeks to streamline and expedite the processing of permits and licenses, which senators tackled in a public hearing at the Senate committee on civil service.

“Do not test this administration because we will see to it that you will be held accountable. The President will really embarrass you. Not just shame you, he will really get back at you,” Go said.

“As our President said, we have to take ‘radical’ steps to cut corruption and simplify steps of doing business in the country. I support what the President said, that we need to organize the government bureaucracy not only to improve the ease of doing business in the country but also to fight government corruption. This is what we need right now to facilitate our economic recovery in this time of pandemic,” he added.

Go said securing business permits and licenses should take only three days to one week.

“Sometimes, it takes months or years for a document to get processed. That means something is wrong, there is inefficiency at best and corruption at worst,” he said.

Go said President Duterte’s policy against red tape is clear.

“I strongly believe that this measure will be instrumental in helping to achieve these objectives. This will go hand in hand with the other measures that the government had pursued to address this problem.”

In 2017, Go said the President issued Executive Order 34 to streamline, expedite and make more efficient the processes involved in government projects and transactions.

In 2018, he said Duterte signed the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act to address the tedious process of doing business with the government.

The President, by virtue of Memorandum Circular No. 44, also ordered all government agencies involved in frontline services to respond to all public requests and concerns within 15 days.

“These steps undertaken only show the government’s commitment and resolve to improving government transactions and ensuring ease of doing business in the country. The proposed SB 1844 is a welcome development in this front, especially now that we are facing economic uncertainties brought about by COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Go reiterated Duterte’s pronouncement for the need to revisit laws and regulations on the ease of doing business.

“And it is true that during one of the command conferences with military officers, the President said he wanted to resign because of corruption. Our President is really exasperated every time he hears corruption in our country. Only you can help, our fellow Filipinos, let’s work together,” Go said as he urged Filipinos and the private sector to join the President in the fight against corruption.

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