President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the mass oath taking of newly appointed government officials in Malacañan Palace on Tuesday, August 29, asking them to help him fight corruption in government.
In his speech, President Duterte said he will create an anti-graft body that will investigate corruption in government.
“I shall be creating an Anti-Graft Commission soon to investigate complaints of corruption in government. At ito is habulan ng panahon. I do not want investigations to last more than one month,” Duterte said.
He expressed concern over the Ombudsman’s supposed failure to “live up to its constitutional mandate” and “slow-paced” response to cases filed before them.
“I can only wish that the Ombudsman would go beyond the friendship bonds and adapt the aforequoted principle as a governing rule in the performance of its constitutional mandate,” he said.
“I implore you, let justice be done. It is not yet late in the day to do that. Let the remaining months of your incumbency be truly reflective of your mandate to do justice to everyone without favour or bias,” he added.
“When there is an urgent need to acquire equipment, parts, materials, supplies, et cetera to meet contingencies or improve public service, any delay in the procurement of these items could result in adverse consequences. And it is the public who bears the consequence and sufferance. It is the government that gets pilloried and crucified,” he further said.
He noted that corruption in government is a major concern and the Ombudsman, the office that supposed to fight it, has been “ineffective.”
The President also warned that he will not think twice to suspend or dismiss presidential appointees found to be involved in corruption.
He likewise warned against hiring of consultants and giving them huge salaries. The President cited an office which hired four consultants with everyone receiving P200,000 monthly salary.
“We have experts in government from whom you can consult when [the] need arises. Avail of their expertise. Seek their assistance,” he said.
“But if you cannot really avoid hiring consultants, then it could be good if you moderate their fees. Excessive fees cut into the budget. Be careful with public funds. It is not money that you are of liberty to spend at the people’s expense,” he added.
President Duterte reiterated his intention to do away with the practice of awarding projects to the lowest bidder telling lawmakers to do something about it.
He said lowest bidders winning government contracts usually do not have the money and expertise to carry out projects thus putting public interest in jeopardy.
“Experience tells us that the lowest bid is not necessarily the best. The quality of service, durability of materials, purpose of procurement and the amount of the bid though not the lowest must go together,” he said.
Among the prominent appointees of the President include Francisco Moreno Domagoso, NorthRail CEO; Isidro Lapeña, Customs commissioner; and Alexander Noble, Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corp. board of director.
Prior to the mass oath taking, the President met children from Marawi City who are in Manila for educational tour.
He also led the second meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) in Malacañan Palace. (PND)