Who’s next on Duterte’s chopping block? Definitely not Tugade
Sorry to his detractors. Better try another day.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday indicated that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade still enjoys his confidence and will stay in his post, dismissing speculations that he would be the next Cabinet member to be fired over corruption allegations.
“May mga allegations, magpunta doon, na corrupt. Sabi ko, he doesn’t have time for that. He doesn’t even know how to count his money,” Duterte said in a speech during the launch of Cebu Pacific Airlines’ domestic hub in Cagayan de Oro.
Tugade was with Duterte onstage when the President made the remarks. Before the President made his speech, he was introduced by Tugade as someone whose love for the Filipinos and country are unmatched.
“Secretary Tugade, in respect to his statement, he also has no match, he is bright. He was our brightest classmate in law school,” Duterte said.
The President has repeatedly said he would fire government officials even with just a “whiff” of corruption.
“Even a whiff, or a whisper, of corruption and you’re out,” Duterte warned government officials barely a week before he assumed the presidency in July last year.
Duterte has fired even his longtime allies and closest aides from the Cabinet.
Peter Laviña, who served as spokesman for Duterte during the 2016 national elections, was fired in February following corruption allegations at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). Laviña allegedly received 40 percent kickbacks from contractors.
This was followed by Duterte’s sacking of Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno in April due to corruption allegations over the irregular purchase of the Rosenbauer firetrucks from Austria.
He also fired Cabinet Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Valdez in April 2017 for overruling National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino in his decision to suspend rice importation.
The chief executive also sacked Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Benjamin Reyes in May 2017 for contradicting the government’s official data on the number of drug addicts.
In October, Duterte fired Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Jose Vicente Salazar over allegations of corruption.
The President on Thursday said he had fired a budget undersecretary over corruption allegations who was later identified by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno as Undersecretary Gertrudo de Leon.
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