MANILA — “Justice for one is justice for all. Sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.”
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had this to say as he expressed his plan to form a commission investigating corruption anomalies at the Office of the Ombudsman, which launched a probe into his and his family’s alleged hidden wealth.
The Chief Executive declared his willingness to subject himself to the Ombudsman’s probe, saying that he has no problem allowing the anti-graft agency to open his books for scrutiny.
“The Ombudsman has investigated me ever since. Hindi nahinto ‘yan. Okay lang sa akin ‘yan. Nasa gobyerno kami,” President Duterte said during his interview with Erwin Tulfo’s “Sa Totoo Lang” aired on state-run PTV 4 on Friday.
The President said he would even donate his wealth if it is proven that he had undeclared bank deposits worth PHP211 million.
On the other hand, he said the Ombudsman should likewise not be spared from inquiry.
The President said corruption practices also plague the agency, but it has so far dodged investigations because of its status as an independent body.
“In the name of public interest and in the name of justice and fair play, there ought to be a body who will investigate you also because the Ombudsman cannot investigate itself. Obviously, it is an anomaly,” Duterte said, adding that he wants to create a commission to perform such task.
“So what is the remedy of the Filipino kung kayo mag sige hingi? Ako, huwag mo akong lokohin. Do not force my hand into it,” he warned.
The Chief Executive brought to attention the rampant extortion activities within the agency. He revealed that some police, militarymen, and local politicians were forced to pay to have cases filed against them dismissed.
“Kayong Pilipino, tanungin ninyo ‘yung may mga military na nagkakaso diyan magkanong binayad nila, pulis, lahat. Mayor, governors, tanungin ninyo, bayad ‘yan. Bayad ‘yan,” he said.
According to the President, he would order the agency to open its records and direct accused corrupt personnel to execute their affidavits.
“Now, if I do not have the power to summon you, I can always go to the courts to apply for a… as an administrative remedial measure,” he stressed. “Now, pag ayaw mong sumipot in obedience to that summon, I will move for your arrest, contempt of court, and will order the military or the police to arrest you.”
President Duterte also decried the apparent selective justice in the Ombudsman’s investigation of government officials. He questioned why the body would not conduct probes on corruption accusations hurled against members of other political parties.
“‘Yung kay Trillanes, huwag niyo rin ‘yun kalimutan. Kasi ‘pag hindi, eh ibang istorya na ‘yan. Namumulitika… Wala namang Liberal nakita ko na puro naman sila may DAP cases. Bakit ‘yung mga Liberal — are you beholden to the Liberals?” the President asked.
During the same interview, President Duterte conveyed his plan to allow foreign telecommunications companies to do business in the country to improve internet services for Filipinos.
“The only way to improve your service is bigyan kita ng kompitensiya,” the President said, stressing that he would allow four to six foreign internet service providers to enter the country.
He said a Chinese firm and a Singaporean-based company had already expressed desire to set up stations here.
The Chief Executive earlier issued a warning to local telecommunications firms to improve the services that they provide to the public, otherwise they would have to compete with new players.
The President said he remains grateful for the overwhelming support he has been receiving from the Filipino public, as shown in recent surveys.
“To the Filipino people, salamat ho (sa) suporta ninyo. Because the surveys show, all, Pulse Asia, everything. So walang manipulation. Hindi fake news ‘yan,” he added.
“So ako naman, I am grateful, not elated. Nagmamagandang loob ho ako sa inyo na naintindihan ninyo ang trabaho ko. ‘Yun lang,” he added.
The President then reiterated his commitment to create genuine change in people’s lives, particularly on ending the illegal drug problem and improving the country’s economy so Filipinos no longer have to look for better jobs abroad.