Duterte says 'pristine clean' government 'impossible'

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2021 11:57 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2021 08:17 AM

Duterte says 'pristine clean' government 'impossible' 1
President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the 52nd Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on Feb. 22, 2021. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that while he would continue to fight corruption up to the last year of his stay in Malacañang, a "pristine clean" bureaucracy would be "impossible." 

Duterte has created a task force to probe state-wide corruption. He also devotes a chunk of his weekly televised speeches to reading a list of officials either dismissed or suspended from their posts due to malfeasance. 

"I would dedicate the last remaining months of my stay in the office of the President going after corrupt people," he said in his latest public address.

"Do not expect me to entirely clean, pristine clean the bureaucracy. That is impossible, and cannot really be achievable." 

Repeating a warning for government personnel pocketing payoffs, Duterte said, "You should not be there in the service at all." 

In 2016, Duterte won the presidency campaigning on a promise to fight corruption, crime, and illegal drugs.

But his administration has been dogged by scandals and allegations of graft and cover-ups in state agencies ranging from prisons, the state insurer, immigration, airports and customs, to police and the drugs enforcement agency, few of which led to convictions or high-profile resignations.

The Philippines also fell 14 notches to 113th spot among 180 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index in 2019. Last year, the country slipped to more spots to 115th. 

Duterte is not eligible for re-election, but fulfilling his campaign pledge on corruption could help the chances of his chosen successor in the 2022 elections.

The justice department, which heads the anti-corruption task force, earlier said it would work with other government agencies on investigations.

- With a report from Reuters 

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