MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night said he is finalizing a list of Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials he will dismiss for their alleged involvement in the “pastillas” racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“Today [Tuesday] I think I have to complete the list of officials that I’m going to fire, to dismiss from the BID, sa Bureau of Immigration,” Duterte said in his speech after administering the oath of newly-appointed government officials in Malacañan Palace.
Duterte expressed frustration that some of the officials on his list were his fraternity brothers from the San Beda University-based Lex Talionis Fraternitas.
“Ayaw ko kasi ‘yung iba kilala ko. Kaya lang ‘yung iba ko mga brod ko. Iyong iba (I don’t like it because some of them I know personally. But some of them are my brods. Others) were with me in ‘88 when I first ran for the mayorship, that was ‘88, ’98,” he said.
On February 20, Duterte ordered the relief of around 19 BI personnel after receiving reports and finding probable cause to remove them from the bureau due to their supposed unlawful money-making activity.
The BI personnel will be formally charged once results of the investigation show that they committed an unlawful act, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Amid controversy hounding the bureau, Duterte is giving Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente an opportunity to address the issue.
Morente is still subject to the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) ongoing investigation.
Insisting that being involved in corrupt activities is unforgivable, Duterte said he has been sacking officials “almost every day.”
Duterte, meanwhile, called on newly-appointed government officials to discharge their duties with “efficiency, honesty and competence.”
“I am optimistic that you will lead by example and inspire your fellow public servants to lead modest lives and uphold public interest over personal ones. Be vigilant and lead the fight against corruption, undue patronage and other unethical motives that diminish public trust,” he said.
He also urged them to never intervene for their relatives when it comes to government transactions, warning them that he will hold them accountable for it.
“Itong mga relatives, maski anong gawin mo talagang ang tao magsususpetsa. Kaya kayo, kung may maglapit na..magsabi sayo kapatid ‘yan, pamangkin, whatever…anak (These relatives, whatever you do, people will always suspect. That’s why you, if anyone approaches you claiming to be my sibling, niece or nephew, or child). Consider it denied,” he said.
Duterte, meanwhile, expressed confidence that his current Cabinet members, many of them military men, were not involved in any corrupt activities.
“Etong mga (These) Cabinet members, they’re all clean except yung mga nawala na. ‘Yun na ‘yun (those who have been dismissed. They’re the ones corrupt),” he said.
He has openly voiced out his preference for appointing military men in his Cabinet because they were honest and industrious and get the job done. (ia/PNA)