MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday directed the Department of Justice to investigate the "entire government" for corruption.
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.
Duterte issued a memorandum directing the justice ministry to look into anomalies at state agencies until the end of his term in 2022. It gives the ministry the power to decide what allegations to investigate and to work with other agencies.
"I hope that all government workers, officials are listening. This is a memorandum from me to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra... The subject is investigate of allegations of corruption in the entire government--Lahat (everything)," he said in a taped speech aired Tuesday.
Duterte earlier in his speech said the country continued to be "plagued with corruption."
"I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption kasi hanggang ngayon, hindi humihina, lumalakas pa lalo. Para na tuloy naging inutil ang mga opisyal ng bayan, na wala talagang magawa with the onslaught of corruption," he said.
(Until now, it has not weakened, it grows even stronger. It is as if all officials are are inutile, useless against the onslaught of corruption.)
"Hindi po ako maniwala na wala akong magagawa. May magagawa ako," he said.
(I don't believe that I cannot do anything. I can do something.)
The Philippines fell 14 notches to 113th spot among 180 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index last year.
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 said it would work with other government agencies on investigations.
"It will help us a lot if government workers themselves and the people they deal with would come forward and provide us the necessary information to uncover corrupt activities and identify the perpetrators," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
- With a report from Reuters