Duterte ‘advises’ 2 assistant secretaries to resign

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 May) – Two assistant secretaries have been “advised” by President Rodrigo Duterte to resign following allegations of corruption against them, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque told a press briefing in Malacanang Tuesday.

Roque said that investigation done by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) showed that Justice Assistant Secretary Moslemen T. Macarambon Sr. and Public Works Assistant Secretary Tingagun A. Umpa were allegedly involved in corrupt acts.

Macarambon, appointed on January 9 last year, reportedly intervened on behalf of suspected smugglers of gold and other precious jewelry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Umpa, appointed as assistant secretary for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Operations and Special Mindanao Projects on January 5 this year, was accused of committing grave abuse of power and corruption when he allegedly asked for “certain percentages” from contractors of government projects in the region.

Roque said the President could be alluding to the two officials when he disclosed at the wake of former senator Edgardo Angara early Tuesday that he was firing two officials.

The spokesperson said it’s already up to the Ombudsman to press charges against Macarambon and Umpa, but added the anti-graft agency can pick up from the PACC investigation.

“Sila po ay may recommendatory powers, at sinusumite po nila ang kanilang recommendations sa Office of the President (They have recommendatory powers, and they submit recommendations to the Office of the President),” he said.

He added the commission inherited 400 complaints from the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs.

Created by Executive Order No. 43 of Duterte, the commission provides assistance to the President in the investigation and hearing of administrative cases and complaints, and in the conduct of lifestyle checks and/or fact-finding inquiries concerning presidential appointees and other public officers allegedly involved in graft and corrupt practices, or have committed other high crimes and/or violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Duterte warned that he would get rid of corrupt officials in the government.

Last week, former tourism secretary Wanda Teo resigned amid the controversy caused by her agency’s advertisements worth P60 million that were aired on her brothers’ block-time program Kilos Pronto at the state-run People’s Television Network. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)