MANILA (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday stressed anew his intense dislike for corruption, comparing it to a leech that bleeds the government of funds during his third State of the Nation Address.
Duterte said aside from bleeding the government of funds programmed for its infrastructure and other social development projects, it also “saps the morale or the morale of dedicated and honest government workers.”
“Corruption destroys those who succumb to its temptation and eventually it is the innocent who will suffer and bear its horrible consequences,” the President said.
“The love of money is corrosive. And sadly, the desire to make the easy kind by being imaginative and manipulative, corrupts absolutely. Stolen wealth does not make the thief respectable. Neither will the trappings of wealth mask [nor] cap the stink that thievery exudes.”
Duterte added that justice will one day catch up with those involved in corruption.
“And when that day comes, it will be the public who will have its retribution,” he said.
Duterte has fired a good number of his appointees who were allegedly involved in corruption and other anomalies. He has been lamenting that some of those he fired include those who supported his presidential candidacy.
“I value friendship, make no mistake about it. But it has its limits,” he said.
“This is a lonely place I am hemmed in. Do not make it lonelier by forcing me to end our friendship because you gave me the reason to end it. It pains me to end --- the loss of friendships. And that is why I appeal to you to help me in my cause so that our friendship will endure.”
Critics, however, say the President does not seem to be sincere in fighting graft and corruption in government, noting the absence of charges against them and the reappointment of some of them.
Duterte appointed last month Manuel L. Serra Jr. as member of the governing board of the Philippine Coconut Authority.
Serra was among the five PCUP commissioners fired by the President in December last year for making foreign junkets.
Aside from Serra, another fired PCUP commissioner, Melissa Avanceña Aradanas, was also appointed in March this year as deputy secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
Aradanas is a cousin of the President’s partner, Honeylet Avanceña.
Aside from Serra and Aradanas, Duterte had also appointed to other government posts former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon and former Social Security System Commissioner Pompee La Viña.
Faeldon left the Customs amid the controversy involving the P6.4 billion shabu shipment from China but was later appointed as deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense.
The President sacked La Viña as SSS commissioner, only to appoint him to the tourism department and then the agriculture department.