Peace process adviser Jesus Dureza resigns

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte says he accepted the resignation of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.

“I am very sad that I accepted the resignation of Secretary Dureza," he said during his speech at the inauguration of the Bohol-Panglao International Airport on Tuesday, November 27.

In the same speech, the President announced he had fired two officials in Dureza's office – Undersecretary Ronald Flores and Assistant Secretary Yeshtern Donn Baccay.

Flores is Undersecretary for Support Services and National Program Manager of PAMANA, the OPAPP's development arm. Baccay is Assistant Secretary for Support Services and PAMANA Concerns.

Duterte appeared to spare Dureza from any blame but said he was the superior of the two he had fired.

"Well, in fairness to Secretary Dureza, wala man siyang ano (he was not) – maybe because he's the head of office. Itong dalawa, nagkalat din (These two messed up also)," he said. 

In his resignation letter, Dureza took responsibility for the incident. "I am sad because despite my efforts to be compliant with your (Duterte) strong advocacy against corruption, I failed... I take full responsibility and apologize for all this."

Dureza said in his resignation letter that he did take steps stop corruption in OPAPP. He said: "I had left the internal functions to my other OPAPP appropriate officials while I concentrated my attention on the big task of dealing with challenges of peace. I even installed an internal Ombudsman with an outside lawyer to help validate and gather evidence due to persistent rumors about corruption. I even took efforts to publicly warn the public through the social and mainstream media against corruption in the implementation of PAMANA projects and requested information with assurances of confidentially of the source.

"I truly am sad that OPAPP , as an institution which I head, had to suffer publicly due to the acts of a few," Dureza added.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he would fire another official but declined to elaborate.

"I'm going to fire also an undersecretary. Ito yung malikot, malikot itong mga ito, either yung ginagamit mo o talagang loose cannon kaya ang gobyerno hirap," he said.

(This is the persistent one, they are all persistent, either they are being used or they are really loose cannons so the government is having a hard time.) – 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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