By Alexis Romero, November 23 2018; Philippine Star


Image Credit to Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is not yet done with his firing spree and the latest to get the boot is Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) secretary-general Falconi Millar because of alleged irregularities in the agency.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News yesterday about Millar’s sacking. In a statement released after his interview in the talk show, he said Millar’s dismissal was proof that no one would be spared from Duterte’s anti-corruption campaign.

“There are no sacred cows in the administration, especially in its drive against corruption. As the President said, he will not tolerate even a whiff of corruption in the executive branch of government,” Panelo said. “The President’s order takes effect immediately.”

The HUDCC has a council headed by its chairman Eduardo del Rosario, a regular member of the Cabinet. The council is supported by the secretariat, which is led by a secretary-general tasked to execute and administer approved policies and measures.

Aside from being HUDCC secretary-general, Millar was also secretariat head of Task Force Bangon Marawi, which is in charge of Marawi City rehabilitation.

In his speech last Friday in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, Duterte said he would dismiss another official when he returns to the Philippines but did not elaborate.

Panelo said the delivery of public services, especially the rehabilitation of Marawi and other areas affected by the clashes between government troops and terrorists, would “unimpededly continue” despite the dismissal.

Millar, for his part,  said he resigned from his post and that there was a “demolition job” against him by people he had “annoyed” because he protected the government’s interests.

Duterte himself also announced Millar’s removal from HUDCC in a speech during the inauguration of the Cavite Gateway Terminal in Tanza town.

“For all of you, disabuse your mind about corruption in government at least here in the executive department. Wala ho kami niyan (We do not have such thing),” the President said.

“Just before I left my office, I signed a dismissal order of the secretary-general of housing. A certain Millar. I read his resume earlier and I saw the termination, I knew what a deep s*** the guy has created for…Valedictorian in law class and everything. But I don’t know,” he added.

Duterte said he has seen a lot of people who used their power to commit corruption.

“Along the way, corruption creeps in… You know when you are there secretary-general, you have the power, you have the authority. You can do corruption and it can corrupt you, give you a little or it corrupts you absolutely… Sometimes it is really you want your money to go to your pocket almost every day,” the President said.

“That’s the sad story about this government,” he added.

Duterte also cited his firing of officials of the Armed Forces of the Medical Center and the Nayong Pilipino Foundation.

“Frankly I am having a hard time combating corruption. Please do not make it really very hard for me to do it,” he added.

In the same event, Duterte endorsed the senatorial bid of his former aide Christopher Go, who he described as an “ideal critic.”

“Please do not forget him. He is good… He would be an ideal critic and I would say that he would win, he should only spare no one including his former boss,” the President said.

Duterte also ordered policemen to stay away from casinos, which he described as “crawling with usurers, kidnappers.”

“Better go away… I do not want even a police car there… The lowlife of society are there. They kidnap people and then they start to negotiate. Even if they get the payment, they would kill the victim. And what are the policemen doing there? What’s your business?” he said.

“If you violate my order, I will dismiss you from the service. That’s an order because you are there to commit a crime.”

Duterte said he would ask the Army’s Scout Rangers to conduct patrols in Roxas Boulevard if he sees policemen in casinos and loses his patience.