Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar is “very good” and can even perform “miracles” but his department is “inhabited with demons,” President Duterte said Sunday.
The President lamented the corruption allegations plaguing the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) during his visit to Camarines Sur Sunday afternoon.
“Please understand that I do not have anything against Villar, he’s very honest, he’s very good, very industrious. Nakita mo naman sa trabaho niya sa Manila, mga highways diyan,” Duterte said during the situation briefing in Camarines Sur. “The problem is the DPWH is inhabited with mga demonyo (demons),” he added.
In earlier disaster response briefing in Cagayan, Villar also earned praises from the President for his performance in the Cabinet. But the President also bewailed the presence of many “kawatan” or thieves in the DPWH.
“Sa DPWH, Secretary Villar is here, he can do miracles, actually. Secretary Villar, mind you, I said a very honest person. Wala akong kaduda-duda (I have no doubts about him),” he said.
“Problem is ‘yung departamento na nakuha niya maraming kawatan ang p***** i**. So most of the time headline (The problem is the department he got has many thieves, son of a b***. So most of them, headline),” he added.
The President earlier ordered the Department of Justice to conduct a sweeping investigation into corruption allegations in the entire government and prosecute those involved. Duterte also wanted an audit of all DPWH projects to find out if there were “ghost projects” and demanded the resignation of those involved in the irregularities.
In the same meeting in Camarines Sur, Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla informed the President that some public works officials linked to corruption have passed away. Other names given to the President have supposedly retired from the service, Clavecilla added.
“Buti, kundi patayin na lang natin din (That’s good. Otherwise we’ll just kill them),” Duterte said, triggering laughter from some officials in the briefing.
According to the President, it is actually up to the Office of the Ombudsman to probe and penalize erring public servants. “Galit ang Ombudsman sa corruption (The Ombudsman is angry with corruption),” he said.
Duterte said there will be “more to come,” hinting the possible dismissal of officials over corruption allegations.
“Naawa ako sa immigration, 42. Wipe out. Wala tayo magawa. (I pity those in the immigration bureau — 42. Wipe out. We can’t do anything about it),” he added.
In recent weeks, the President read aloud the names of government officials either suspended, charged or dismissed by the Ombudsman as part of his intensified campaign against corruption. He said he would use the remainder of his term to weed out the corrupt in government.