Duterte says he fired Jesus Aranas

Pia Ranada
Duterte says he fired Jesus Aranas
'I will deal with corruption. I’m dealing it until now,' says President Rodrigo Duterte before announcing in a speech in Leyte that he sacked the GSIS executive

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte, said on Friday, July 5, that he axed Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general Jesus Clint Aranas.

“I will deal with corruption. I’m dealing it until now. I just fired the president of the GSIS yesterday,” he said in a speech at the  inauguration of the Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Complex in Alangalang, Leyte.

Earlier that day, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo denied Duterte asked Aranas to resign and said the GSIS executive chose to exit his post for “personal reasons.”

Late Thursday night, Panelo had issued an initial statement about Aranas that said Duterte accepted his resignation “due to reports and allegations that there had been impropriety in the management of the GSIS leading to loss of confidence.”

Soon after, but not before the first statement was tweeted by some media outfits, Panelo sent a revised statement which took out any mention of the reason for Aranas’ exit.

“The President has accepted Mr Aranas’ resignation without any reason nor any comment,” Panelo said in the second statement.

Prior to Aranas’ resignation, the GSIS, under his leadership, locked horns with the International Container Terminal Services, Incorporated over the GSIS’ planned sale of a 672,645-square meter property at the Manila North Harbor, which is operated by the ICTSI.

ICTSI, owned by port tycoon Enrique Razon, had questioned the plan, saying it would hamper its operations at the site. (READ: TIMELINE: GSIS, Enrique Razon’s dispute over port property)

Aranas did not cite any particular reason for resigning when he announced it on Tuesday, July 2, but said, “I resign, secure in the knowledge that I have unwaveringly advanced the interest of GSIS and its members in discharging the functions of the said office always in obeisance to all laws and never once compromising my integrity or that of the office I now relinquish.”

On Friday, Duterte said he would be firing more officials soon, specifically those in the Bureau of Customs.

“I will go for the Customs again. There will be a lot of dismissals, I hope. And I try to really stop the corruption in the higher crust of government,” he said.

While Duterte had been firing officials because of alleged corruption, Malacañang had yet to file any cases against these former officials who had denied the allegations.

The President had also been criticized for contradicting his own vaunted “zero tolerance” for corruption by recycling officials  who had been implicated in, or under investigation, for alleged corruption.  – 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.