PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he has already fired 92 government officials from different agencies because of claims of corruption.
“I have fired 92 [officials]. I have fired so many Customs officials, BIR and the regulatory boards, the one giving the franchises for public utilities, 92 all of them this month alone, March. I said go,” Duterte said during the groundbreaking of a P700-million drug rehabilitation center in Bukidnon.
“I said, do not f*** the government with its money. Cause if you do, we will not understand each other,” he added.
Duterte made the revelation after Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco told the Manila Standard that he was issued “gag order” after three of Duterte appointees under his supervision were fired or suspended amid allegations of corruption.
Shortly after conversing with Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Evasco said he was still investigating the cases of National Food Authority administrator Jason Aquino and Philippine Coconut Authority administrator Avelino Andal.
But Evasco did not confirm or deny whether he ordered the suspension of Aquino and Andal or whether it was ordered by Duterte.
Without mentioning names, Duterte said on Saturday that one of officials he fired was a man who had been a part of his team since 1988.
“You be ready to go. Just like a guy who was with me since 1988. He was a part of my team but when we were already in the government, I heard that he was suggesting this and that. I said ‘you have to go.’ The first whiff of corruption, it’s finished.”
He was apparently referring to longtime friend Peter Laviña who was forced to resign Feb. 28 as administrator of the National Irrigation Administration after the latter was accused of extortion.
Duterte said he was hurt by accusations leveled at Laviña but he set aside his personal feelings to show that he means business.
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