Duterte says he will resign if proven corrupt

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte says he will resign if proven corrupt
President Duterte, however, warned against inventing stories to smear the reputation of officials.
Presidential Photo / Simeon Celi, Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has maintained that he is ready to step down if he or any member of his Cabinet is proven to have gained even a single peso from corruption, saying there is no use governing without the public’s trust.

“There are lots of speculations that Cabinet members and I receive money. Look, I give you this guarantee: bring someone who can say that he gave us one peso and I will resign tomorrow. Just one person, one affidavit, no fabrications, just someone who is telling the truth,” Duterte said at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Monday.

“There’s no use governing a country when people no longer believe in you. If people don’t believe in you, then it doesn’t matter anymore. You are better off just enjoying your retirement,” he added.

Duterte, however, warned against inventing stories to smear the reputation of officials.

“Do not lie. Do not invent, do not concoct a story, masama iyan. Kung ganoon, ah ikaw ang patayin ko (that’s bad. If you do that, I’ll kill you),” he said.

Reacting to Duterte’s statement, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) urged the President to make public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).

“Maybe just #Show UsYourSALN,” PCIJ tweeted in response to a quote card showing Duterte’s statement about his readiness to resign.

The Office of the President and the Office of the Ombudsman have been criticized for not releasing a copy of Duterte’s SALN since 2018. Ombudsman Samuel Martires has justified his decision to restrict public access to the SALNs of officials, saying the document has been used for extortion.

Duterte expressed belief that all his Cabinet members are honest but that he is ready to let go of anyone proven to be involved in anomalies.

“As far as I’m concerned, they are all honest but if you have something, tell it in public and I will ask that Cabinet member to resign immediately. I don’t want speculations because it will destroy (a reputation). Who will believe us if you keep on parlaying these kinds of stories?” he said.

The President cited Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who, he said “has served government faithfully for four administrations.”

He said he has not heard Duque receiving bribes. The health chief has been tagged in the alleged massive corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. He has denied involvement in any anomaly.

Duterte again announced names of government personnel suspended or dismissed for alleged irregularities. The 10 officials, all from the environment department, are Ronnie Ponferrada, Virgilio Abragan, Wilfredo Factoranan, Pedro Gerena, Rolando Palca, Jason Israel dela Cruz, Henry Valeros, Racquil Ali-Lucman, Pedy de Pedro and Roger Madrideo.

They were accused of neglect of duty, gross neglect, grave misconduct and irregular issuance of permit.


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