Duterte to target corrupt local execs next

MANILA — Apart from removing erring presidential appointees from their posts, President Rodrigo Duterte is now seeking to weed out corrupt local government officials.

The President has vowed to bring the anti-corruption crackdown to the local government level during a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang last Monday.

“The President stated that he will continue with the process of cleansing the bureaucracy,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a Palace news conference. “He will now turn more of his attention to local government units (LGUs) including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” he added.

Asked if the President received new complaints against some LGUs that prompted the anti-corruption purge, Roque said: “None but he just said that he will also focus not just on presidential appointees but also on local government officials including the ARMM.”

The President recently went on a spree, firing government officials over frequent foreign junkets and other anomalies. The last official to be fired was Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III for his 24 foreign trips made in the last two years.

Roque said the President has a “firm resolve” to clean up the bureaucracy even though he has yet to constitute the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

The commission, created through Executive Order No. 43 last October, is mandated to directly assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and or corruption against all presidential appointees.

“It’s been established but it hasn’t been constituted. But the President has not waited for its constitution before he has started actually the purging of corrupt officials in government,” Roque said.