MANILA - Ombudsman Samuel Martires admitted Thursday his office could "never" stop corruption in government,
This, in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's question during last Monday's State of the Nation Address (SONA), where he also expressed exasperation over the lingering problem.
“During the SONA of the President, he asked a question, when will corruption stop? I was seated directly in front of the President, and I said never, never shall we stop corruption,” Martires said in a meeting with multi-sectoral organizations, including the media, academe, and the business sector.
The President earlier emphasized that even with relentless government investigations and prosecution of corrupt public officials, corruption remains pervasive in the government ranks.
"The recent uncovering of the massive fraud perpetrated against the public health insurance system proves that corruption is pervasive," Duterte said.
"Let me ask you: When will corruption end? Kailan ba talaga ‘to? Hanggang kailan? (When? Until when?) Well, I don’t know. I’ve been in --- with government for almost 35 years now. I am not singling out myself. It’s the entire gamut of our system. Corruption exasperates. It frustrates," he said.
Martires said the key to solving corruption in government is strong values formation among the youth, which he said his office would support.
“I will assure everyone that I will shift from prosecution and investigation to values formation and religious education as the main entry points in preventing corruption,” the anti-graft head said.
Martires said he plans to partner with educational institutions for his moral recovery program. - Report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN