More government officials are being shown the door, as President Rodrigo Duterte weeds out those who appear engaged in irregular or questionable activities.
Most recently, an assistant secretary of the Department of Transportation was fired for initiating deals with a presidential sister. The Palace said the case of Mark Tolentino serves as a warning that no official should attempt to have dealings with relatives of the President.
There are five other officials who stand to lose their jobs in announcements today, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said. These officials will be axed for alleged graft and corruption.
These add to the list of officials, including the Tourism Secretary and an undersecretary of the communications office who have recently exited the Duterte administration for ad placements in programs owned by relatives and irregularities in expenses during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
Finally on Monday night, Tourism Promotions Board chairman Cesar Montano stepped down after the new Tourism Secretary, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, suspended his P80-million Buhay Carinderia Program. The program did not go through public bidding.
It’s heartening to see that the administration does not coddle its own appointees when they are involved in activities that would put the government’s anti-corruption drive in a bad light. We expect, and hope, that this practice continues until the President’s term ends.
We also expect that this practice be applied evenly, whether or not the official is personally known to the President, and that those who were shown the door in the first place are not transferred to other offices. Then, the drive would be a sham.
The challenge then would be to improve the vetting process such that those appointed to government posts are not inclined to commit irregularities in office. And then even the inconvenience of a transition can be avoided.