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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Now that he is no longer president, Duterte says solving corruption is ‘easy’

Former president Rodrigo Duterte says it is easy to control corruption.

Rodrigo Duterte 2023-11-06 Flip-flop

Toward the end of his six-year presidency, Duterte said “corruption is endemic” in the government and that “nobody can control” it.

Toward the end of his six-year presidency, Rodrigo Duterte said “nobody can stop corruption.” No longer in power, he now says “it is easy” to control this menace.

STATEMENT

In the Nov. 6 episode of Duterte’s talk show Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on Sonshine Media Network International, Duterte discussed the rampant corruption in government and lectured Marcos on how to curb this menace. He said:

Madali lang naman ‘yan, Pastor; Isang salita lang ‘yan… Granting that  [a corruption case exists] or assuming na totoo o hindi, all he has to do or any other government [official], isang sabi mo lang, ‘Do not do it.’ Or, if it’s a contract amounting to billions [of pesos], itong mga government-owned corporation, ‘Ipadala mo ‘yung justification mo for approving or disapproving a contract para malaman ko kung []…’ So gano’n lang ‘yan. Wala namang problema.

 

(It’s easy [to control], Pastor; just one word… Granting that [a corruption case exists] or assuming if true or not, all he has to do or any other government [official], just tell him, ‘Do not do it.’ Or, if it’s a contract amounting to billions [of pesos], these government-owned corporations, ‘Submit justification for approving or disapproving a contract so I’ll know [].’ It’s as easy as that. It’s no problem.)

Source: DZAR 1026, LIVE: ‘Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa’ kasama si dating Pang. Rodrigo Roa Duterte | Nov. 6, 2023, Nov. 6, 2023, watch from 11:27 to 12:57

FACT

In his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, 2021, Duterte said corruption is “endemic in the government” and “nobody can stop” it. He explained:

“Nobody can stop corruption unless you overturn [the] government completely… If I were the next president, if you think there’s a need for you to change everybody in the system, then you declare martial law and fire everybody and allow the new generation to come in to work in government.”

Source: RTVMalacanang, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s 6th State of the Nation Address, July 26, 2021, watch from 1:51:36 to 1:52:08

VERA Files Fact Check: Toward the end of his six-year presidency, Rodrigo Duterte said “nobody can stop corruption.” No longer in power, he now says “it is easy” to control this menace.

In a meeting with executives of his party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan, and other government officials earlier that month, Duterte also admitted that it is not easy to address corruption. He said:

“You know, I’ve been trying really my very best to curb corruption. Hindi ko maalis ‘yan overnight (I cannot remove that overnight). But I have made some, a little progress in terminating, dismissing individuals. I cannot abolish offices but I can dismiss employees for their malfeasance…”

Source: Radio Television Malacañang – RTVM, Meeting with PDP-Laban Executives and Other Government Officials, July 7, 2021, watch from 14:30 to 15:00

When he was campaigning for the 2016 presidential elections, Duterte repeatedly promised to end corruption “in three to six months.” After he won the presidency, he stressed in his inaugural address the urgency of addressing corruption and vowed to end it “both in the high and low echelons of government.” 

Duterte created the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission in October 2017 to investigate administrative cases involving graft and corruption. Eleven months after his second SONA in 2017, Duterte fired government officials for alleged involvement in corruption.

Come 2018, more than a year past his self-imposed deadline to stop corruption, Duterte started making a dramatic turn on his campaign promise.

Sabi ko na hindi ko kaya itong corruptionAkala ko within the constitutional powers na ibinigay sa akin, kaya ko… Even if you give me 20 years I cannot do it,” he said during the 121st anniversary of Philippine Navy in 2019.

(See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Duterte’s ‘never-ending’ fight against drugs and corruption in his own words)

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Sources

DZAR 1026, LIVE: ‘Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa’ kasama si dating Pang. Rodrigo Roa Duterte | November 6, 2023, Nov. 6, 2023

Radio Television Malacañang – RTVM, Meeting with PDP-Laban Executives and Other Government Officials, July 7, 2021

RTVMalacanang, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s 6th State of the Nation Address, July 26, 2021

Official Gazette of the Philippines, Inaugural address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, June 30, 2016

Official Gazette of the Philippines, Executive Order No. 43, Oct. 4, 2017

RTVMalacañang, 121st Philippine Navy Anniversary (Speech) 6/17/2019, June 17, 2019

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)