MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday that his frustration over corruption once prompted him to offer to resign from office during a meeting with military officials.
"At one time, I was so exasperated in a command conference that I asked that if every major commanders of the Armed Forces, Navy, Army… Sabi ko, 'Tumindig lang kayong 4 ngayon. You stand up to signify your willingness that I will step down and I will step down," he said in a speech.
"It was a Cabinet meeting then after that a command conference. Sabi ko, 'Hindi ko kaya, hindi ko kayang habulin,'" he added.
(I said, "I can't do it, I cannot run after it.")
Duterte said none of the military officers stood up, signifying that they believed he should continue working as president.
He recounted the incident at the launch of former President Fidel Ramos's book "Prosper Thy Neighbor."
BUREAU VS CORRUPTION
Duterte said he will set up a Bureau of Supply that shall monitor government procurement to fight corruption.
This, he said, would mirror a similarly named group under the General Services of the Philippine Constabulary during the Marcos administration. Ramos was then the chief of the constabulary.
The body, he said, shall compare price differences to check for commissions.
BOOTING OUT USEC
The President also recounted an incident where he said he kicked an undersecretary in the face after the official was accused of corruption.
"Nanibago siguro itong mga presidential guards kay butangero... Ngayon lang nakakita ng Presidenteng nambubugbog eh. Sinipa ko talaga sa mukha," he said.
(The presidential guards may have been surprised. It was their face time seeing a President mauling someone. I really kicked him in the face.)
"But it was really a serious offense also. I could have killed him. It was so serious I could have killed him. Sabi ko (I said), 'Just go away.'"
Duterte said rooting out corruption was essential to the Philippines' progress.
"If we cannot have law and order in this country and if we cannot control corruption, we will never rise even in parity of the level now of Malaysia and Indonesia in 5 or 10 years," he said.