Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, March 13, announced he will be firing another set of government officials over corruption issues.
“I will be firing another set of officials. I’m sorry. Mahirap kasi (It’s difficult). Iyan lang ano ko if you want to help me run the government at yung programa ko. You know, ako lang ang presidente ngayon. I have distributed almost 160,000 hectares. (That’s my only issue, if you want to help me run the government and my programs. I’m the only president now),” he said during a speech in Cauayan City, Isabela during the campaign sortie of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
However, Duterte did not identify the officials who are the sources of his frustration.
The statement came following Malacañang’s announcement that former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Alexander Balutan was fired “due to serious corruption allegations.” This was later retracted by presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, saying the official resigned instead.
Duterte in the past had repeatedly said he would fire government officials even with just a “whiff” of corruption. He had received criticisms, however, for firing officials without pursuing charges against them.
Furthermore, some of the government officials were merely transferred to other agencies during the height of their controversies. Customs chief Isidro Lapeña and Nicanor Faeldon, for example, left the Bureau of Customs after the multi-billion shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) mess.
They were later reassigned to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Bureau of Corrections, respectively.