Peace adviser Dureza resigns

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2018 08:42 PM | Updated as of Nov 27 2018 10:44 PM

Duterte fires two OPAPP execs

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza has resigned from his post, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday. 

Speaking at the inauguration of the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Duterte said he was “sad” to accept Dureza’s resignation.

In a statement, Dureza said he takes "full responsibility" for alleged corruption at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

"I am sad because despite my efforts to be compliant with your strong advocacy against corruption, I failed," he said.

"Nonetheless, I take full responsibility and apologize for all this. I am voluntarily tendering my resignation to pave the way for the needed reorganization that Your Excellency may wish to undertake at OPAPP."

Dureza said he established an "internal Ombudsman with an outside lawyer to help validate and gather evidence due to persistent rumors about corruption."

"I even took efforts to publicly warn the public through the social and mainstream media against corruption in the implementation of PAMANA projects and requested information with assurances of confidentially of the source," he said.

"I truly am sad that OPAPP, as an institution which I head, had to suffer publicly due to the acts of a few."

Dureza's resignation came in the wake of outgoing military chief Carlito Galvez’s pronouncement that he wants to become a peace consultant at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) when he retires.

Dureza was recently appointed by the President as his special envoy to the European Union, for a term expiring on Dec. 31 this year.

Dureza, Duterte’s classmate in high school, had also served as peace adviser during the term of former president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

His resignation comes as the government tries to salvage the fragile peace process with the communists and ahead of the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a crucial component in the peace process with Moro rebels.

Duterte announced Dureza’s resignation just as he revealed he has fired OPAPP Undersecretary Ronald Flores and Assistant Secretary Yeshton Donn Baccay.

“Well in fairness to Secretary Dureza, wala man siyang ano. Maybe because he's the head of office. Itong dalawang nagkalat din,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he will also fire another official in the coming days.

The President did not clarify what the officials did that prompted him to fire them. 

Dureza, meanwhile, said he was "glad with some amount of sadness" regarding the two officials' sacking "due to corruption."

It has been his habit to fire officials in public, but his government has been criticized for not following through with filing charges against those sacked who were tagged in corruption.