MANILA - (2nd UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday demanded the resignation of Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials after getting reports of rampant corruption inside the agency.
"Basta lahat itong opisyal, lahat sila, they have to resign,"Duterte said of the supposed corrupt officials.
"Binaboy nila 'yung agency," he added.
The President's pronouncement comes days after the suicide of ERC bidding chair Francisco Villa Jr., who claimed in his suicide letters that he was pressured by his superiors to approve anomalous deals.
Duterte said he will ask Congress to either withhold the budget of ERC or disband the agency altogether.
He said cases will also be filed against supposed corruption-tainted officials whom he did not name.
"I will ask Congress, I demand from Congress to disband, wala na and/or file a case simultaneously sa kanila when I get back. I think 'yung source ko ay may documents na," the President said, adding that he has received separate internal and intelligence reports on anomalies in the agency.
"Matagal na akong may naririnig diyan... Ayaw ko talaga ng corruption," he said, but did not not elaborate on the contents of the reports.
He said instead that he has already ordered a probe on the ERC's goings-on.
Duterte is currently attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru.
The Villa family, meanwhile, expressed gratitude for Duterte's prompt action on the corruption allegations.
"We, the family of Jun Villa, are deeply and profoundly humbled and so grateful for the attention of Pres. Duterte to shed light over our tragic loss... We thank the President for taking the first step towards reforms in power industry which will benefit consumers and the economy," their statement read.
They also reiterated an appeal for the creation of a helpline for government employees.
A group in the Philippines is dedicated to addressing those who have suicidal tendencies.
The crisis hotlines of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation aim to make these individuals feel that someone is ready to listen to them.
These are their hotline numbers:
Information and Crisis Intervention Center
(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917-558-HOPE (4673) or (632) 211-4550
0917-852-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-6876
0917-842-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-4084
In Touch Crisis Lines:
0917-572-HOPE or (632) 211-1305
(02) 893-7606 (24/7)
(02) 893-7603 (Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm)
Globe (63917) 800.1123 or (632) 506.7314
Sun (63922) 893.8944 or (632) 346.8776
-- With reports from Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News; Dexter Ganibe, DZMM