MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to detain politicians who will engage in corruption amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) health crisis, stressing that the public should never be deceived especially in these times.
He said he would not tolerate corruption, embezzlement, hoarding, and other crimes that could deter the government’s heightened efforts to curb the pandemic.
“I am not a cruel man pero kung may report ang pulis (but if there are police reports), I will order your detention hanggang matapos itong Covid-19 (until the Covid-19 pandemic ends),” he said in a televised public address late Monday night.
He noted that he would also suspend national and local officials involved in politicking.
“Kung mamulitika ka tapos mabalitaan ko na ‘yun ang nagawa mo (If you engage in politicking and I hear about it), I will suspend you ora mismo (on the spot). And for those who are really absconding the money, I will detain you, I said, and maybe I will release you pagkatapos ng Covid (after the pandemic ends),” he said.
He said that “people tasked of distributing the money, food, and relief goods” should do their work “to a tee” or risk being detained.
“Sa crisis tapos gawin mo pa ‘yang… Dapat ka talagang ikulong (There’s a crisis and you would no that…you really deserve to be jailed),” he said.
Last week, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año urged the public to report local officials who required their constituents to present their quarantine passes or voter’s identification before they were given food assistance or allowed to buy food outside.
He said requiring a quarantine pass or voter’s ID is not part of the guidelines under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to reduce the transmission of the Covid-19 in the country.
“Hindi tama ‘yan. ‘Yan ‘yang tinatawag na epal na mga barangay captain. I-report niyo sa’min ang pangalan, anong barangay, aaksyunan natin ‘yan (That’s not right. That’s what you call self-promoting barangay captains. Report their names, which barangay and we will take action),” he said.
He asked barangay officials to think twice about how they treat their constituents as it would be their basis for electing new officials during the next elections.
“Malayo pa ang eleksyon. Kalimutan niyo ang eleksyon (Elections ar far away. Forget about elections). But what you’re doing now will be the basis of the people whether you’ll be elected or not in the next election. Tandaan niyo ‘yan (Remember that),” he said.
He also reminded local officials against going overboard while enforcing policies, especially in restricting the movement of cargoes carrying basic necessities such as food, medicines, and other health-related items when it should be unhampered.
“Sa LGU, lalo na iyong malalayong lugar mayroon silang tendency to overdo, kasi iniisip nila iyong welfare ng kanilang constituents, but not knowing ay sumosobra na (In local government units, especially in distant places, they have a tendency to overdo it because they’re thinking of the welfare of their constituents, not knowing that it’s too excessive),” he said. (PNA)