Duterte wants revival of probe vs corruption, including PNR’s divider-less toilets
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is looking at reopening investigations of past corruption scandals hounding the government — including an infamous toilet project where bowls were placed side by side without dividers.
Duterte said in his pre-recorded late night address on Thursday that this anomalous project and other questionable programs may be part of his latest drive against corruption.
The President was referring to the old issue of restrooms constructed at the Philippine National Railways (PNR) España stations which were put up without dividers for privacy. The project which was initiated under former president Benigno Aquino III’s term, has been used by Duterte’s supporters to underscore the alleged incompetence of the past administration.
“Ang pinaka-marami (issues) itong road right of way na hanggang ngayon, ewan ko kung anong nangyari there was this scandal somewhere in Cotabato, I remember it but I, I am remembering it now, tignan ko kung, tanungin ko ang DPWH kung ano ang nangyari doon, or I will have it reinvestigated,” Duterte said.
(Most of the issues come from the road right of way up to now, I don’t know what happened but there was a scandal in Cotabato before, I am trying to remember what happened there, or I will have it reinvestigated.)
“Karamihan mga ghost projects. ‘Yan ang ano dyan, ‘yong iba naman kagaya ng public works na nakita ninyo, ‘yong kubeta na walang cover na puro naka-hilera lang ‘yong bowl, inodoro, walang division, wala lahat, ‘yon ‘yong mga putang inang klase ng trabaho,” he added. “So ‘yong gano’n, balikan ko ‘yon.”
(Most are ghost projects. Others, like the public works you have seen, comfort rooms without covers where toilet bowls are placed side by side without division, I will go back on that because that’s a lousy job. So that’s what would happen, I will reinvestigate that.)
He then warned erring officials who may have been involved in the old issues, and are still employed within their respective agencies to resign as he will go after them.
In 2018, the Department of Transportation which oversees the PNR said that the projects were part of the Kayo ang Boss Ko (KBK) toilet initiative in 2012 that were left unfinished.
“I’d like to remind anybody sa DPWH who has had a participation there being the investigator or connected with the construction, you better, you report to me. Tanungin ko kayo kung paano ako magdumi kung ganito para kaming classmates, seatmates kami, put*ng ina,” he said.
(I would ask you how I can relieve myself if I am seated like we are classmates, seatmates, son of a b*tch.)
“Kalokohan, kabastusan talaga ng… I’m sure government would not allow that kind of project, no engineering department or the engineer themselves would be too crazy to do that. ‘Yon ang mga project na hao siao, ‘yang partial delivery or ‘yong halos ibigay sa’yo,” he added.
(That’s rude to people […] those projects were not thought of fully, like partial deliveries but you receive almost all of the funds.)
With regards to questions whether the anti-corruption drive was quite late considering that the government also has to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte said that it may be enough.
“Ang ibang kasalanan, okay lang pero itong mga ghost projects, mga project na wala dyan, karamihan dyan ‘yong mga health centers. Wala ‘yan, tip lang ‘yan, ngayon kung ‘yan ang ginawa niyo, that’s shortchanging government,” Duterte stressed.
(Other sins may be okay but ghost projects like missing or incomplete health centers, that is only the tip of what the project is. Now if you did that, that is clearly shortchanging the government.)
“You will go to jail for that, I have two years to do it, and about six months to file all the charges,” he added.
While fighting corruption has been a central theme of his campaign prior to the 2016 presidential elections, Duterte recently placed more attention on the anti-corruption drive, assigning a mega task force led by the Department of Justice to probe the issues.
This was in the wake of his admissions that a lot of corrupt practices still hound the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other corruption scandals including the Philippine Health Insurance controversy, and the so-called “Pastillas scheme” in the Bureau of Immigration.
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