Duterte says ‘it’s time to abolish’ Road Board
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said it’s “time to abolish the graft-riden Road Board, dismissing the desire of the Arroyo-led House of Representatives to keep the agency.
“Let’s just go ahead and abolish it,” Duterte said in a speech during the change of command of Philippine Air Force at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
“I have always been wary about this office because it has been the milking cow of people who are in government,” he added.
The Senate and the House of Representatives had earlier approved the abolition of the Road Board but the lower chamber later moved to rescind it.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said he would submit to the Palace the Road Board abolition bill even without the signature of Arroyo.
The President admitted there’s “a little bit of a ruckus there in Congress regarding the abolition or the continuance” of the Road Board.
“I believe that the Senate has decided the right thing and has stated that the Road Board has been dismantled,” Duterte said.
He said he has always “questioned the existence of this office.”
“It is nothing but a depository of money and for corruption. It has no other purpose,” he said.
“And I agree with the others and the senators that it is time to abolish it and return that function to the DPWH,” he added.
Duterte said he would side with the Senate “if it comes to a Constitutional controversy” and the House questions the Road Board’s abolition.
He then said the Road Board continued to exist because of “politics and the expediency of everything.”
House Majority leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said he and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had a dinner with Duterte in September before the House rescinded the bill abolishing the Road Board.
He said Duterte agreed to keep the Road Board contrary to the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
Duterte confirmed he met with Arroyo, one of his strongest allies, but denied he agreed to maintain what he described as corrupt-ridden agency.
“I had a talk with President Arroyo and apparently there was a misunderstanding because all along I really wanted to abolish the Road [Board],” he said.
“And Andaya says now that I was one of those who said that it should be maintained. They made a mistake there,” he added.
He said he strongly supports the abolition of the Road Board because it has been a source of corruption.
“And I see now that it’s about time to abolish it,” saying the uproar at Congress could create “another Constitutional issue and maybe crisis.”
“I hope not,” he said. “I hate to say it but please if it’s good for the people, good for the trust deposited on the people, on government, let’s just go ahead and abolish it.” /kga
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