President Rodrigo Duterte is not shutting his eyes to corruption, especially when there is a strong piece of evidence against an accused public official, Malacañang said on Thursday.
This, after Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Wednesday told Duterte not to defend government officials involved in irregularities.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte never tolerated those working in government, including his friends, who have been proven to be involved in corrupt activities.
Duterte, Roque added, just wants to make sure that there is substantial evidence against the supposedly erring government personnel.
“So, I have personal knowledgethat if corruption claims are backed by data and facts, the President does not shut his eyes,” Roque said in Filipino.
On Wednesday, Pacquiao said Duterte should not be “too defensive” when it comes to government officials who are tainted with corruption.
Pacquiao’s statement came after Duterte repeatedly defended embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who has earned public ire over his supposed mismanagement of Covid-19 pandemic response funds.
Roque said no one from the government has received any preferential treatment from Duterte.
Duterte’s firing spree of unscrupulous government workers, including those who are close to him, proves his strong commitment to fight corruption, Roque added.
“It does not matter to the President if you are close to him,” Roque said in Filipino.
Roque, however, said Duque’s case is different because there is no proof that the DOH chief is involved in corruption.
Duterte earlier said he would not direct Duque to vacate his post, but added that he would respect the latter in case he wants to resign.
On Monday, Duterte defended his Cabinet officials, saying they are spending public funds properly.