Duterte: 'I offered to resign as president because I am sick of corruption'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) – President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Monday he offered to resign as president because of the rampant corruption in the country.

"I offered to resign as president, sabi ko kasi nagsasawa na ako, (because I said I'm sick of it [corruption])" Duterte expressed during his weekly national address.

The President added that through his vast experience as a government official, he admitted that corruption cannot be stopped.

"Even with the investigation or the clamor for government to shake the tree, wala, hanggang ngayon (nothing, until now) it's being committed every day. Can you stop it? You cannot, there is no way," said Duterte.

Duterte mentioned in his speech that he is ready to appear before legislators on enacting laws to curb corruption in the government.

"I appeal again to Congress, I cannot fight corruption...I cannot find a way to move who are almost resistant to finding fault and resisting moves of government to improve. Congress might want to enact a legislation," he said.

Duterte also cited the Land Registration Authority as one of the most "notorious" government agencies in engaging in corrupt practices especially in the provinces, since he said he handled many cases against its officials when he was still Davao City prosecutor.

Reorganizing PhilHealth

The President also said in his address that he intends to reorganize the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

"Balak ko mag-reorganize (I am mulling to reorganize [PhilHealth]) and impose upon them a single line of authority," he said.

Duterte said the procedures in the embattled state health insurance firm should be streamlined to prevent corruption from happening.

"There are so many tables there in the office, not just in PhilHealth, who can do the work, who can process the papers, without having the discretion whether or not he should be hanging on it or sitting on it," explained Duterte.

In the latter part of his speech, Duterte called for the abolition of the beleaguered agency. He also revealed that the government is raising funds, including selling its real estate properties in Japan, to sustain the operations of PhilHealth.

"Kung i-privatize mo naman, susmaryosep, walang pera. Sino insurance mo…? Huwag mo sabihin ng mga kapitalista sa insurance: Kami ang magbayad? Wala kayong pondo," he said.

[Translation: If we privatize PhiliHealth, we don't have money. Who will be our insurer? We should not allow the capitalists to say on the insurance that they will pay because we don't have any funds.]

PhilHealth has been hounded by corruption issues through the years, more recently with allegations of overpayments to hospitals and procurement of overpriced new equipment.

To give a fresh mandate in the state health insurer, Duterte appointed former National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran as the new PhilHealth president and chief executive officer last August 31. He replaced Ricardo Morales, who resigned at the height of the investigations in the agency's alleged corruption issues due to his poor health.

Duterte also approved the recommendation of the Department of Justice-led (DOJ) investigating task force to file complaints against ranking PhilHealth officials which include Morales, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Jovita Aragona, and Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus among others. The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission is conducting a separate probe on the corruption allegations in the agency.