DAVAO CITY, Aug. 21 — At a press conference after midnight Sunday at the Presidential Guesthouse in Panacan, President Duterte unceremoniously declared all positions in the government with appointment by a president must consider themselves resigned effective immediately (Monday) to push through with the cleansing of the ranks in the public service down to the regional level.
His order did not include the secretary,undersecretary and civil career service eligible who would still undergo normal procedures if found responsible or liable of graft and corruption.
Duterte zeroed in on the agencies like the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) which had been in his list of most corrupt agencies.
He even called out on one LTFRB official whose name he cannot remember to “come to me and see me in Malacañang.”
“The LTO and those who are appointed to that positions of LTO except the career, consider your positions vacant as of this hour. All of them…lahat (all). It will number in thousand. Consider yourself in the crucible of truth about corruption in this country,” he declared.
The President explained that he hates doing it but he still continues to receive complaints but he cannot go after each and everyone of them.
“If I go there everyday, I would not have time to be President and sit there and make crucial decisions for the country. So I will declare all the position — there are the assistant. There’s always a deputy or even the first clerk, they can take over until such time I decide whether I will dispose of you or not,” he stressed.
He reminded that he has the promise to give the Filipino people a clean government and “it would maybe, along the way, cost the employment of some who are really the corrupt.
“If I go there once, twice, and still I hear about complaints, and if you are a presidential appointee, meaning to say I appoint you or you were appointed by the previous president, but the appointing authority has the power to appoint and the power to dismiss, without any reason, except that loss of confidence in your ability to deliver your mandate,” he emphasized.
Earlier, on Friday, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra announced the resignation of LTFRB XI Director Benjamin Go and the filing of retirement by LTFRB XI Administrative Officer Edgar Violan after a spot audit conducted nationwide of all LTFRB transactions showing several case folders with alleged questionable franchise issuance and which were brought to Manila for further investigation.
Delgra together with Board member Atty. Aileen Lizada-Lopez met with officials and employees of LTFRB XI on August 11 followed by a reshuffling of employees and directors once he completes consultation and meetings in all regional offices on September.
Delgra, who was among the first appointees of the Duterte administration had been instructed by President Duterte to rid the agency of corruption. Delgra said there is an ongoing investigation within LTFRB nationwide.
“We will be fair. We will be feared,” Delgra assured in reference to conducting investigations.
Lopez said a nationwide review of the agency’s work showed there are spurious decisions made by some LTFRB officials. While she would not however refer to a particular regional office, Lopez said one regional office in Luzon would collect as high as P200,000 for one franchise.
Delgra warned that those accused of money-making activities in LTFRB will not go unpunished as there have been complaints and information that some of the employees and directors are having alleged alliances with fixers inside and outside the agency especially on application of franchises.
Delgra confirmed the system and money-making activities within the LTFRB is unimaginable that when he asked employees and officials if the statement of President Duterte that it is a corrupt agency is true – he only got a long silence.
He said even former regional directors have alliances in fixing activities that despite incomplete documents, some operators hold franchises.
“We break the butter” referring to alleged SOPs for processing of franchising and other documents.
Lopez said a review of the agency’s work showed there are spurious decisions made by some LTFRB officials.
While she would not however refer to a particular regional office, Lopez said one regional office would collect as high as PHP200,000 for one franchise.
While there is cleansing of the ranks, Delgra said they are continuously working on improving the system of LTFRB and cut on processing time. The LTFRB is now using log books to pinpoint responsibility in delay of applications.
After Duterte’s press conference in Davao, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar reiterated on Sunday that Cabinet secretaries are not covered by the president’s declaration.
Andanar said he will still clarify with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea if the constitutional bodies are covered by the President’s declaration.
”Hindi ko po tiyak kung kasama kasi meron mga constitutional bodies. Meron din mga offices na may term. Pero ang maliwanag po sinaby ng Pangulo na lahat ng appointive positions,” Andanar said.
Andanar also allayed fears that declaring over 1,000 appointive positions vacant will paralyze the operations of the government agencies. He also downplayed perception that the President does not accept criticisms about his policies. (PNA report by Jelly F. Musico and Lilian C. Mellejor)