After scrutinizing corruption in the PhilHealth, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he is going after other crooks in different government agencies -- starting with the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The President said he has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to lead the investigation, giving it authority to form as many task forces or panels to "look into every department" as he warned of more suspensions of officials because of the anti-corruption drive. He said he would "concentrate the last remaining years" of his term to the effort.
"The DOJ is hereby directed to investigate allegations of corruption in the entire government,"Duterte said in a taped speech aired Tuesday morning. "It behooves upon me to see itong corruption mahinto. At least maputol man konti."
The justice department can seek the help of other government agencies for the anti-corruption drive, which will last until June 30, 2022 or Duterte's last day in office.
"This country continues to be plagued by corruption. I have made a pledge to the people of the Philippines na yung oath of office ko, part of it really is to protect government interest," Duterte said.
While the investigation will focus on the DPWH, President Duterte clarified that he had no bad blood against Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
"Let me state this here and now, I have nothing against Sec. Villar. He is one of the hardworking and maraming accomplishments si Sec. Villar but accomplishments alone to me should not suffice," Duterte said. "We're expanding the investigation sa agriculture with special focus sa DPWH."
'Your resignation will not save your neck.'
Duterte told erring government officials and employees that resigning would not absolve them of possible criminal liability. He cited as example resignations reported from PhilHealth after the state health insurer was put on the spotlight for corruption allegations.
"Let me remind everybody in this government na your resignation will not save your neck," the President said. "You are not allowed to resign to escape liability."
Duterte also reiterated the pledge he made to Congress during one of his annual State of the Nation Addresses that he would "concentrate" his last remaining years in power to fight corruption.
The 75-year-old leader, the first to come from Mindanao, has less than two years before he steps down from power. Throughout his presidency, he has regularly spoken out against illegal drugs and corruption.