Duterte defends tagging of corrupt execs

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte justified his decision to identify officials tagged in corruption and illegal drugs, saying he is fulfilling a “higher requirement” of making the public aware of the truth.

“My higher duty is really to inform the public. The public must know. With regard to secrecy, I don’t believe in that. The public must know… We owe it to them to tell them the truth,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded public address aired Wednesday night.

Duterte, who has been reading the names of government personnel tied to alleged anomalies in recent weeks, said the government owes it to the public to tell the truth and that withholding facts won’t help authorities perform their obligation.

“Sabi ng batas na hindi ko dapat sabihan ‘yang mga kaso (The law says I should not talk about the cases). But I would like to take the higher ground. Anonymity does not help at all,” the President said.

Duterte went on to read the names of officials tied in the “pastillas” bribery scheme, which resulted in the entry of illegal Chinese workers. Under the scheme, each bank note of grease money was reportedly wrapped like pastillas, a popular milk-based candy, and given to corrupt immigration personnel.

“Napakalawak talaga ng sindikato sa NAIA. Grabe (The activities of syndicates in NAIA are expansive. It’s serious),” Duterte said.

“They are now suspended but they are connected to the pastillas (scheme). This may result in their dismissal, suspension or exoneration if warranted,” he added.

Duterte identified the suspended immigration personnel as Gerrymyle Franco, Hafiza Marohombsar, Jose Miguel Calumpang III, John Michael Angeles, Francis Meeka Flores, Ma. Luz Trono, Jedric Christian Centeno, John Warren Oaña, Yasmin Dimao-Edres, Kevin Peter Vega, Abdu-rahman Umpar, Marian Tayabas, Garry Paller, Krizzia Marie Ann Bustillos, Mark Irvin Capatayan, Dave Dadivas, Sadruddin Usudan, Judeson Soluren, Kathleen Carandang, William Velasco, Kessler Cortez, Jerwin Garcia, Mohammad Sahary Lomondot, Julius Ivan Diaz, April Joyce Alemania, Clinton Rodriguez, Eduardo Gabiola III, Constantine Achanzar, Maria Margarita Manila, Jose Noriega, Jose Rafael Nuñezca, Christopher Limbo, John Derrick Go, Ian Joseph Matti, Raymond Yambao, Francis Gerard Sanchez, Mohammad Jelanie Edres, Leonard Denford; Danica Beatrice Bañez, Aira Inoue, Rovan Rey Manlapas, Peter John Magnaye and Xander Mark Salmon.

Duterte also ordered law enforcement agencies not to cover the faces of people held for illegal drug trade especially those caught in the act.

“So that I think is the higher requirement of a public officer, especially the President, who is the overall in charge of law and order. My take is that they should be exposed in public, especially (drug) pushers so they won’t repeat (their wrongdoing),” he said.

Last month, Duterte said he won’t identify the lawmakers tagged in irregularities in local public works projects, saying he could not investigate members of a separate and co-equal branch of government. He said the ombudsman should conduct such a probe because it is the only investigating agency that has jurisdiction over congressmen.

The President, however, had made public names of officials implicated in the narcotics trade. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque recently claimed it was easier to establish the wrongdoing of those into illegal drugs.

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