MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has warned corrupt public works personnel that he is not yet done cleansing their agency as he reminded government workers to avoid wrongdoings if they want to remain in their posts.
Duterte, who has described the corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as "grave," vowed to act on citizens' complaints and to summon officials tagged in irregularities.
"I'd like to issue a warning. I am not yet finished with the DPWH. I am not yet done with you, district engineers who have been there for a long time. Some of you are even… friends of mine," the president said in a pre-recorded public address last Monday.
"With regard to letters (alleging corruption), I will really summon you. And I will investigate immediately, and then file the case before the Ombudsman so it can proceed. And maybe, the Ombudsman will be the one to issue the suspension order. But I want you out. Out as in out of government service," he added.
The president has fired several officials linked to irregularities but his critics doubt the seriousness of his anti-corruption drive, saying some of the dismissed appointees were given new positions.
Last December, Duterte relieved DPWH district engineers accused of conniving with some lawmakers to commit corruption. The president, however, has expressed belief that DPWH Secretary Mark Villar is not involved in anomalies and has even lauded him for initiating a revamp in the agency.
Noting that he is about to step down from office, Duterte said corrupt government workers should forego their illegal activities and just wait for "better times."
"I only have a short time remaining… It would be best for you not to have money for now. Just wait for better times. Wait for the president that you can outsmart… I really humiliate people. Once you come here, I will really slap you in a room," Duterte said.
"I'm out in less than a year… Avoid mistakes. If you value your work, if you want to stay in government, avoid it," he added.
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