Duterte fires ex-President’s men
STARTING today (Monday) , all presidential appointees of previous administrations would be considered resigned, President Duterte declared.
The President ordered the government shakeup during a press conference in Davao City that began after midnight Saturday. Mr. Duterte expressed disgust over information he received that corruption persisted in state agencies despite his repeated warnings against unscrupulous dealings in government offices.
“Consider your positions vacant as of this hour,” the President said in his two-hour press conference that ended past 3 a.m. on Sunday
At the beginning of his term, Mr. Duterte told previous presidential appointees to stay at their jobs in holdover capacity. He said, however, that he received information unbridled irregularities were still happening in “regulatory agencies.”
“Until now, in my provincial visits, I still hear that corruption is being committed,” he said.
“My mouth is, as they say, lousy. If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions, all throughout the country, vacant,” he said.
He reiterated that he had promised the Filipinos during the campaign that “I will give them a clean government.”
The President particularly mentioned the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as the two agencies where anomalous transactions still took place
“Those who are appointed to the LTO, except the career (officials), consider your positions vacant as of this hour,” he said.
‘All of them’
Asked if his order included all presidential appointees, Mr. Duterte said: “All of them, it will number in the thousands. Consider yourself in the crucible of the truth about corruption in this country…If the rule is enforced, it must be enforced on all or none at all.”
He said he did not care if a government clerk ran an affected government agency for the meantime.
Later in the day, the President’s spokesperson said the government’s delivery of basic services to the people would not be adversely affected by the decision of Mr. Duterte to sack all appointed public officials.
“I think our bureaucracy is strong enough. It will function even without the heads of offices because we have deputies and career officers,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told state-run dzRB radio.
“I don’t see any problem (arising from the President’s directive). Our government can still operate (without them),” he said.
According to Andanar, only presidential appointees of the previous administrations would be affected by the major shakeup. Career employees would not be covered.
Mr. Duterte’s bureaucratic purge aimed at cleansing the government of corruption was within his executive authority, said former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
“Mr. Duterte, a lawyer, is aware of the limits of his power…he knows what he can or cannot do by law,” Pimentel said in a text message on Sunday.
“I’m sure that many of those who might be actually removed would eventually be restored to office unless they are found to have transgressed the law on drugs or on corruption,” said the former senator, founder of Mr. Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
Sen. Richard Gordon said Mr. Duterte had given the appointees a chance to prove themselves.
“In the first place, he let them stay and ‘do your job’… but nothing… Also remember he’s under pressure from his supporters who think [the Duterte administration] can do better,” Gordon said when reached by phone.
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