PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday declared all positions for presidential appointees vacant to address corruption in government offices which he said persists despite his warnings.
In an early morning press conference in Davao aired live over government television network PTV 4, Duterte said that the revocation is applicable nationwide.
“If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions throughout the country vacant,” Duterte said.
Duterte expressed disappointment over reports that corruption persists in most government posts, especially in regulatory offices, and mentioned the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Land Transportation Office specificially.
“Until now in my provincial visits, I still hear corruption being committed by people, especially in the regulatory agencies,” he added.
So that government operations will not be disrupted, the President named the deputies as officers-in-charge, who automatically assume the vacated position until a new appointment is issued.
For the appointed officials of the LTFRB, he said: “Come to me and see me in Malacañang.”
For officials of the LTO, he said: “Consider your positions vacant at this hour.” Duterte’s two-hour press conference ended past 3 a.m.
The President said his pronouncement excludes Cabinet positions.
“All of them. It will number in the thousands. Consider yourself in the crucible of the truth about corruption in this country......I hate it [corruption]. I do not want to give the slightest hint of it in any human being...,” he said.
“I will give you a clean government,” he said, adding that he is serious about ridding the government of corruption.
The President said that the vacancies will be applied to all positions in the agencies.
“If the rule is enforced, it must be enforced on all or none at all,” Duterte said.
He said that from the start of his administration, he ordered all the government agencies to put a stop to corruption in their own backyard.
He also mentioned of the “laglag bala” scheme, referring to the bullet planting incidents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to bilk travelers.
LTO Chairman Edgar Galvante on Sunday immediately vacated his post after Duterte’s announcement.
“I will comply. That’s what the President’s had asked. I will comply,” he said, adding that he would go to office Monday to clear his desk.
On June 3, Duterte appointed Galvante, a retired police general who was the Dangerous Drugs Board director, as an assistant secretary of the Department of Transportation to head LTO.
A week before the President’s order for all presidential appointees to leave their posts, Galvante admitted corruption was still rampant at the LTO, especially in the process of application and issuance of driver’s licenses, and vowed to cleanse the agency of scalawags.
He said he took steps to cut corruption, but did not “act fast enough.”
Galvante said the President’s message was loud and clear.
“The President needs the space to choose and give the job to others who can do the job better,” he said.
His absence will not affect the agency’s operations, he said.
At least 19 other LTO officials will have to vacate their positions, including regional directors and assistant regional directors.
Another Transport assistant secretary, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra, said he, too, would vacate his post.
“I will comply. That is the President’s order,” he said.
Delgra, who has been touring the different regional offices, admitted that corruption is still rampant in his agency, and said cases would be filed against erring employees. With Rio N. Araja
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