Newly appointed government officials were sworn in Tuesday by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Malacañang, asking their support to help his government defeat corruption.
In his speech during the oath-taking rites, President Duterte congratulated the new government officials, reminding them that as public servants, “our foremost duty is to serve our country with the highest standard of moral integrity.”
Public office is a public trust, he noted, as he expressed optimism that as the new officials assume their respective offices, they would lead by example and inspire their colleagues to bring the government closer to the people.
Asking their backing to restore the people’s trust in government, the President said, “I welcome you aboard with a challenge to go beyond selfish personal interests so that you may focus on the tasks waiting for you in your respective agencies.”
“Work with this administration in ensuring that our bureaucracy is free of graft and corruption, red tape, and other illegal activities. Uphold the primacy of the Constitution, obey all laws, and observe due process in the performance of your duties.”
He also asked them to remain committed to the shared task of nation-building, noting that with their active participation in good governance, the administration can achieve a better life and a brighter future for Filipinos.
Release of old convicts
Meanwhile, President Duterte said he would ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) to fast-track the processing of release of elderly or ailing inmates from the national penitentiary.
“Ako, I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na,” he said in an interview with reporters after the oath-taking ceremony.
Seventy years old and above must be prioritized for immediate release, he suggested. “Wala na ‘yan eh. Lalo na ‘yung mga 80s. What’s the…what’s the use of keeping them there?”
According to the Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, the court may suspend jail penalty and punishment if the offender is less than 18 years of age or over 70 years.
However, in a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, this rule could not be used by convicted criminals who were below the age of 70 when they committed the misdeed. PND