Chopping block

April 12, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte

President Duterte warns more heads will roll as he presses his avowed campaign against corruption.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he will fire “many” government officials before he leaves for China later this month to attend an infrastructure forum.

“Ngayon ‘pag ikaw nasa corruption, alis ka. At sunod...next week when I fly back to report to work before I leave for China, marami akong tatanggalin,” Duterte said in a speech at the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Bacolod City.

The President will be in Beijing from April 26 to 27 for the second Belt and Road forum.

Duterte has repeatedly made announcements about his plans to remove officials for corruption. Malacañang, however, has not provided details about who and which agency will be affected by the crackdown.

Duterte was elected in May 2016 on a campaign promise to rid the country of illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.

But critics questioned the apparent disregard for human rights especially in his war on drugs in which thousands have died and the sincerity of the anti-corruption campaign given the reappointment of some of the officials he fired.

Dispute with China

It is not known if during his trip to Beijing President Duterte will take up with China’s President Xi Jinping the Philippines’ issue with Chinese ships positioned too close to Pag-asa.China said it has taken note of recent statements of Philippine officials asserting Philippine rights to disputed areas in the South China Sea.

In his regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday China Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang stressed that China’s ownership of Spratly Islands is supported by “historical and jurisprudential evidence.”

He added that Chinese fishermen had been fishing in the disputed waters “for thousands of years” and “their rights should not be challenged.”

Without mentioning Malacanang spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s recent remark that the Philippines was protesting the presence of Chinese vessels near one of the Spratlys islands, the Philippines-occupied Pag-asa, Lu Kang insisted that the territorial issues in the South China Sea must be resolved through negotiations between the parties involved.