Duterte taps Ricardo Morales as MWSS chairman

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte says he tapped Ricardo "Dick" Morales, a retired army general, to be an official of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

"Hindi ako pumapayag ng corruption. If I – pagbalik ko mayroon – Ang kinuha kong chairman sa MWSS, si Dick Morales," said Duterte on Thursday, May 23, during the thanksgiving party held by his aide, senator-elect Bong Go in Davao City.

(I don't allow corruption. If I – when I go back I have – I got Dick Morales as MWSS chairman.)

The current MWSS chairman is Franklin Demonteverde. Duterte made no mention of him during his speech.

Morales, meanwhile, had once served as CEO and president of the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association Inc  (AFPMBAI), an organization that provides insurance plans, security, and financial products for uniformed personnel and their families.

Duterte, in his Thursday speech, spoke a bit about Morales' past.

"'Yon yung sundalo na RAM na nahuli sa Malacañang. Rebelde pala...'Yan 'yung nasa TV na sinampal si Imelda. Taga-Davao 'yan," continued the President, to describe Morales.

(He's the RAM soldier who was caught in Malacañang, a rebel...He was on TV slapping Imelda. He's from Davao.)

Morales had been part of RAM, or Reform the Armed Forces Movement, a group of rebellious military officers who wanted to oust Ferdinand Marcos.

As then-first lady Imelda Marcos' aide de camp, he had been put in charge of guiding the rebel soldiers into Malacañang so they could capture the former first family.

But another soldier had squealed on the plan, leading to Morales' arrest.

Duterte had threatened to fire MWSS officials for the water crisis which hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal. He had asked for a report on the shortage due in mid-April. Malacañang had said Duterte would make his decision on the fate of MWSS officials after reading the report.

But Duterte, in his speech, had indicated that Morales was replacing an official accused of corruption. – 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.

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