Leave, Duterte tells all presidential appointees

The directive excludes cabinet officials whom he appointed and undersecretaries.

"If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions throughout the country vacant," Mr. Duterte said over live television.

In an early dawn press conference at the Presidential Guesthouse in Panacan, Davao, the president said it seems corrupt government officials are not taking his repeated warnings seriously.

"Until now in my provincial visits, I still hear corruption being committed by people, especially in the regulatory agencies," he added.

Mr. Duterte said the revocations apply across all state agencies nationwide and would affect about a "thousand" individuals. Pressed for clarification, the president excluded the Cabinet positions.

"All of them... It will number in thousands. Consider yourself in the crucible of the truth about corruption in this country," he said during the press conference, which lasted more than two hours.

"I hate it (corruption). I do not want to give the slightest hint of it."

To ensure undisrupted operations, he instructed the deputies to automatically assume the vacated positions as officer-in-charge until a new appointment is made.

He specifically addressed officials of the LTFRB whom he invited to "come to me and see me in MalacaAang" within the week. As for the officials of the LTO he just said: "consider your positions vacant at this hour."

President Duterte likewise warned all officials of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa, down to the supervisors and prison guards, that they could face charges amid an ongoing probe into alleged drug activities inside the facility.

"Now I am now warning everybody connected with the Bureau of Prisons in Muntinlupa, all the guards there and the supervisors, because if you do not tell the truth before any committee or any governmental body -- be it the Senate or the House of Representatives -- be prepared to be charged for what [appears to be] a serious negligence of duty," Mr. Duterte said.

He treated to send BNP officials to Basilan or Jolo, which are known strongholds of extremist group Abu Sayyaf.

"I hope it is not that you were in conspiracy with the prisoners. You were there for almost -- all the time that these things happened. Do you mean to say that you did not report it to your superiors? Or you allow these things to happen by yourself only [on] your authority and nobody else's? Then be prepared to be investigated (sic)," Mr. Duterte said.

DE LIMA UNDER FIRE

The President had claimed it was the "illicit relationship" between then Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima and her married driver, one Ronnie Dayan, which allegedly "gave rise" to the illegal drug activities inside the national penitentiary, saying she has the power to grant special privileges to the inmates.

Mr. Duterte said he has information that the driver doubles as the collector of money inside the national penitentiary.

The President said he felt the need to expose the supposed "immoral" relationship between the two, making the case for its direct connection to the drug deals that are taking place at the NBP.

"Kaya nga nagkaroon ng special privileges, (that's why special privileges were given)" he said. "Are you not surprised that during her (de Lima) term and for a longer period, when she became the Secretary of Justice, there were special privileges granted to almost all inmates? There were guns there inside; there were parties being held almost every night; there was a combo, a musical group; liquors and alcoholic drinks flowed freely and women went inside and out of the prison," Mr. Duterte added.

The president said he was tipped about an intercepted phone conversation between the former Justice chief and her driver.

Mr. Duterte also said he wanted to "revisit" the case of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, saying he has "some revealing things to tell."

"The Napoles case should deserve a second look for it has also -- it involves corruption, and de Lima," Mr. Duterte said.

Source: Business World Online