Palace on corrupt Cabinet members: No sacred cows
MANILA, Philippines – Corrupt government officials will be accountable regardless of their relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said Monday, after the government’s anti-corruption commission revealed it is investigating three Cabinet members.
Manuelito Luna, Commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), said the Cabinet officials are Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, and National Commission on Indigenous People Chairman Leonor Oralde-Quintayo.
“Well with regard to that, we will wait for the findings and their recommendations. If there is evidence, then the President will act on it,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He reiterated that Duterte’s anti-corruption spares no one.
“You must remember that the President’s policy ever since (is that) there are no sacred cows in this administration. You violate the law, regardless of your status – whether you’re a friend or an ally, or political adversary or a relative or a friend or a fraternity brod, they do not mean anything,” he said.
Panelo said officials allegedly involved in corruption will remain in the Cabinet unless proven guilty even if the President has said he would fire officials even with “just a whiff of corruption.”
“You won’t be fired or dismissed just because you are accused of being corrupt,” he said. “The President is not like that. He’s a lawyer, remember. Always don’t forget that.”
“Like what I said, friendship does not matter with the President. If there is evidence, the axe will fall where it should,” he also said.
In a phone interview with reporters, Bello said he was ready to answer all corruption allegations hurled against him.
“Yes of course. I do not know of any corruption activity that I am involved with,” he said. /kga
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