The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has stood by President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for communist rebels to spare state forces and, instead, target corrupt men in government for assassination.
PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez made the statement after Duterte sought the New People’s Army’s (NPA) assistance in his anti-corruption purge after denouncing government personnel who extort money from the public in exchange for faster service.
“We agree with the President’s position that the public, whose interests and welfare the NPA claims it protects, should wage war against corruption in all levels of government,” Jimenez said in a statement.
“In fact, the NPA should put itself at the forefront of this campaign if it is really fighting for the people’s cause,” he added.
Duterte, in a speech during a campaign rally in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan on Tuesday, appealed to communist rebels to help the government in its fight against corruption.
“Kayong mga NPA, kung gusto talaga ninyo magpatay, huwag ‘yung sundalo ko…T*** i** ‘yung mga kurakot diyan na nagche-checkpoint, ‘yan ang patayin ninyo. ‘Yan ang order ko (You NPAs if you really want to kill, spare my soldiers… Son of a b***h, kill the corrupt who put up checkpoints. That’s my order),” Duterte said.
“Huwag ‘yang taong inosente na sige lang kayo hingi ng p**** i**** taxation na ‘yan. Kaya hindi tayo magkaintindihan (Spare the innocent people from whom you demand taxation. That’s why we have a misunderstanding),” he added.
Sought for comment, analyst Ramon Casiple said Duterte’s latest pronouncement “has more to do with frustration with the corruption situation than with the peace process.”
Analyst Antonio “Butch” Valdes said Duterte was “very creative in dealing with enemies of the State.”
“He (Duterte) challenges the Left to help him punish the corrupt officials whom they claim they hate. The communists have only one way to deal with their enemies…execution…. which is of course a crime,” Valdes, head of the “Save the Nation Movement, told The Manila Times.
‘Vote them out’
The PACC chief urged the public to be discerning in choosing local politicians in the May 13 midterm elections.
“The war against corrupt officials must extend as far as voting them for public office. Do not vote for politicians or candidates with pending cases with the Ombudsman or at the Sandiganbayan,” Jimenez said.
“The PACC’s campaign against officials with pending cases is in keeping with the President’s corruption-free standard for government officials, and that not a whiff of corruption must be tolerated in our communities,” he added.
The PACC, according to Jimenez, was going around the regions to promote the President’s anti-corruption drive in the countryside.
“Corruption breeds poverty, crime, illegal drugs and worst of all, rebellion,” the PACC chief said.
Duterte won on a platform of eradicating corruption in government and crime. His critics, however, said he seems to spare his close allies accused of corruption, even as he has fired many of his appointees on a “whiff of corruption.”
The President had decried corruption and red tape in government, saying the problem could pave way to a “failed government.”
The latest to leave among his appointees was former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager Alexander Balutan.
The Palace initially said he was fired “due to serious allegations of corruption,” but later backtracked, saying he resigned.
Duterte said he would fire “many” government officials for corruption before he leaves for China next week.