Duterte hints at firing more appointees

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) — President Rodrigo Duterte hinted at firing more appointive officials, including friends, for their alleged involvement in corruption.

On Thursday, Duterte said he might fire another appointee when he comes back to Malacañang, expressing disappointment that some friends who supported him when he was still mayor of Davao City until he became President turned out to be corrupt.

The Palace announced on May 21 that the President had axed Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino for talking to his sister about a government project.

“That has always been my warning and so sali lahat (everyone’s included). I might fire another one pagbalik ko sa (when I return to) Malacañang. And sadly, lahat ‘yung halos karamihan (almost all) were my appointees and my friends and who were with me during the mayorship days,” he said during the inauguration of the Davao River Bridge Widening Project on Thursday.

The President reiterated his warning to officials to always keep their distance from any member of the first family and to his friends, and avoid any discussion about any government project.

He said Tolentino had a discussion with his sister about the Mindanao Railway System.

It may be recalled that Duterte had advised Justice Assistant Secretary Moslemen T. Macarambon Sr. and Public Works Assistant Secretary Tingagun A. Umpa to resign due to their alleged involvement in corruption based on the investigation of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Macarambon, appointed on January 9, 2017, reportedly intervened on behalf of the suspected smugglers of gold and other precious jewelry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Appointed as assistant secretary for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Operations and Special Mindanao Projects on January 5, 2018, Umpa was accused of committing grave abuse of power and corruption when he allegedly asked for “certain percentages” from contactors.

Former tourism secretary Wanda Teo also resigned amid the controversial P60-million ads placed on her brother’s blocktime program, Kilos Pronto, aired over state-run People’s Television Network in 2017.

Tourism Promotions Board chief operating officer Cesar Montano also stepped down amid the controversy surrounding the P320-million Buhay Carinderia culinary tourism project. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)