Indonesia

Duterte wants Año to crack down on corrupt local officials

Pia Ranada
Duterte wants Año to crack down on corrupt local officials
Mayors and governors will be given 3 days to respond to the findings of the probe of Interior Undersecretary Eduardo Año, says President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from supervising the police, President Rodrigo Duterte wants Interior Undersecretary Eduardo Año to investigate mayors and governors for corruption. 

Speaking to media past midnight Sunday, November 12, after landing from Vietnam, Duterte said this will be the next step of his administration’s anti-corruption campaign.

“When I see you are making things difficult or you allow corruption to thrive in your locality, then as mayor or governor, I will order the new Secretary of the DILG, the chief of staff, si General Año, to investigate you,” said Duterte in a mix of English and Filipino.

The President reiterated that he would not hesitate to suspend any local government official, even those he appointed, if they are found to be corrupt.

The accused local executives will be given only 3 days to respond to the findings of Año’s probe, Duterte said.

“I’ll give you about 3 days to explain. If I am not satisfied, especially over delays in a project because you want money, that will be a problem,” he said.

Año is Duterte’s top pick to be Interior Secretary but he could not assume the post right away because of a law barring military officers from being appointed Secretary within a year of their retirement.

Duterte previously said he wants Año to supervise the Philippine National Police, given accusations of police corruption and abuse in the campaign against illegal drugs. 

Reminder to Cabinet officials

For Duterte, one major red flag for a corrupt local official is if they delay action on documents like business permits in order to demand grease money from the concerned company or private individual.

“You know when you go into graft and corruption, even in the local level, those permits – business permit to open, you know, an opportunity for investment there. For as long as they hang on to the papers, documents, order, approval and it takes sometimes 6 months because they are waiting for the money,” said Duterte. 

He concluded his warning to corrupt officials by reiterating to his Cabinet officials, several of whom were in the audience, that their departments have only one month to act on applications or documents. 

“Give me a reason to doubt about your integrity and honesty and I will fire you,” said the President. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.