Duterte orders Año to suspend, investigate corrupt local officials

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MANILA, Philippines  –  President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge (OIC) Eduardo Año start to investigating local officials accused of corruption.

During his brief speech after arriving from Vietnam early Sunday morning, Duterte said he has ordered a crackdown on mayors and governors who are accused of receiving bribes in exchange for releasing business permits.

The President added he had just discussed at APEC “the importance of inclusive growth and the need to provide MSMEs with the opportunities to grow and become catalysts for national development” but these corrupt practices by local officials hampered these potential of small businesses to succeed.

“When I see you are making things difficult or you allow corruption to thrive in your locality, then as mayor or governor, I will order the new secretary of the DILG, the chief of staff, si General Año, to investigate you,” said Duterte; adding he will give these officials 3 days to explain, and if he is not satisfied, then there will be a problem.

The President noted it has been a common practice among LGUs to deliberately delay the release and issuance of business permits in an attempt to demand bribes or grease money from the applicants.

“You know when you go into graft and corruption, even in the local level, those permits – business permit to open, you know, an opportunity for investment there,” said the President.

“For as long as they hang on to the papers, documents, order, approval and it takes sometimes 6 months because they are waiting for the money,” he added, threatening to fire the officials if ever they gave them reason to doubt their integrity or honesty.