Duterte fires Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission executive director

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Malacañang announced on Tuesday, September 10, that President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Goitia was "terminated" and instructed to turn over all official documents to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

He did not give any specific reason for Goitia's termination, as is the case with many of the officials fired by Duterte.

Panelo only said Duterte's decision was made because of his "continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption" and to "ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust."

Duterte, during his speech in front of government personnel on Tuesday, threatened to tie up Goitia and throw him into the Pasig River.

"Ihulog ko itong putangina ito sa Pasig River para tumaba lalo itong tilapia (I will throw this son of a bitch into the Pasig River so the fish there will get fatter)," said Duterte.

In an interview with reporters later that day, Duterte also said he fired Goitia for supposedly "telling people he’ll be appointed customs collector."

Goitia, asked by Rappler for comment, denied this.

"No. I'm wondering where that rumor came from. I said, they shouldn't involve me in that," he said in Filipino.

He did not address the allegation of corruption, choosing to convey gratitude to Duterte for his stint at the PRRC.

"I will remain fully supportive of the President's administration reform and development agenda even as l start to embark on my life's new journey," he said.

PRRC Spokesman George de la Rama said Operations Director Anshari C. Lomodag Jr has been designated as the OIC.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the PRRC said that it had implemented the President's decision as early as Monday, September 9.

"The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, as of Monday, September 9, 2019, has already abided with the orders of the Office of the President of the Philippines in the changes in leadership of the Commission," the PRRC said.

"Interim officials are already in place. The PRRC assures the public that government services will continue to operate as usual," it added.

In May this year, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that the PRRC reported low accomplishment rates in 2018 despite using up 96% of its budget.

PRRC spent P107.568 million out of the P111.078 million allotted for the clearing of 6 waterways. The projects, however, only posted an accomplishment rate of 1% to 27.65%. – With reports from Aika Rey/Rappler.com


Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.