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Bolsonaro takes office in Brazil, says will ‘restore order’

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

 

 

Newly sworn in Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his wife | Reuters

Brazil‘s newly inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday (January 01) that he would “restore order,” and he vowed to tackle corruption, crime and economic mismanagement in Latin America’s largest nation.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain turned lawmaker who openly admires Brazil‘s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, promised in his first remarks as president to adhere to democratic norms, after his tirades against the media and political opponents had stirred unease.

A seven-term congressman who spent decades on the fringes of Brazilian politics, Bolsonaro was swept to power in October by voters’ outrage with traditional political parties, making him Brazil‘s first right-wing president since the dictatorship.

Voters punished mainstream parties following more than four years of graft investigations that laid bare the largest political corruption scheme ever discovered. Centrist parties were trounced, reshaping Brazil‘s political landscape and polarising Congress.

Following a knife attack during the presidential campaign that left Bolsonaro hospitalized for weeks, security was tight for his inauguration. Some 10,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed on the streets of Brasilia, the capital, as Bolsonaro and his wife rode in an open-topped Rolls-Royce to Congress.

His voters are now impatient for Bolsonaro to make good on ambitious promises to tackle graft and violent crime and revive an economy still sputtering after the collapse of a commodities boom led to Brazil‘s worst recession on record.

As thousands of supporters, many with the Brazilian flag draped around their shoulders, chanted “the captain has arrived!,” Bolsonaro launched into a fiery speech.

“We are aware of this awesome responsibility and the challenges that we will face. We know where we want to go and the potential that Brazilhas,” he said. — Reuters

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Duterte orders freezing of several Customs officials, employees

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a situation briefing with members of his Cabinet and local government officials to discuss disaster response measures in the aftermath of Tropical Depression (TD) ‘Usman’. at the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC) in Pili, Camarines Sur on January 4, 2019 ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the freezing of several high-ranking officials and employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) over corruption allegations.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said these officials are facing administrative and criminal charges for unlawful activities. Their names, he said would be disclosed “at the appropriate time.”

“The President’s latest action underscores this Administration’s zero tolerance on corruption among erring officials,” Panelo said in a statement released on Wednesday night (July 10).

“We continue to dismantle corruption in the bureaucracy and rid it of corrupt officials and employees… The anti-corruption campaign is continuing as it is relentless. No one will be spared,” he added.

Duterte’s order was issued days after he warned of firing several Customs officials who are accused of corruption. The president also bared he was mulling over another revamp in the BOC.

READ: Duterte mulls another Customs revamp

He also mentioned anew his earlier proposal of bringing the military into the BOC to address corruption allegations in the agency.

It can be recalled that in October 2018, the president said he is considering asking military men to take over the BOC due to the rampant corruption and drug smuggling activities.

Although there are reports that corruption and bribery still continue to thrive in the BOC, Malacañang said on Tuesday that Customs chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero still enjoys the trust and confidence of the president. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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GSIS chief fired, says Duterte

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and former GSIS president and general manager Jesus Clint Aranas

LEYTE, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte himself announced that he fired former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Jesus Clint Aranas.

“I’m dealing (with) it until now. I just fired the president of the GSIS,” the President said.

His statement was to counter earlier statement by Malacañang that Aranas resigned and the President accepted it.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Aranas tendered his resignation but did not specify the reason for doing so, and that the Chief Executive “just accepted the resignation.”

It turned out that Aranas was fired due to his alleged plan to sell a disputed property located at the Port Area in Manila.

Duterte also hinted that there will be “a lot of dismissals” particularly from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) once he returns to Manila.

“I try to really stop the corruption in the higher crust of government,” the President concluded. – with details from Rosalie Coz

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Duterte mulls another Customs revamp

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. | KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte hinted on axing more employees from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) due to another cycle of corruption in the agency.

“Iyan ang problema ng Pilipinas (That’s the problem in the Philippines). So I have three years. When I go back, I would be firing more from the Bureau of Customs” the President announced on Friday (July 5) during the inauguration of a rice processing center in Alangalang, Leyte.

He also mentioned his earlier proposal of bringing in the military into the BOC because of the rampant corruption and drug smuggling in the agency.

“I am just telegraphing. Then maybe ilagay ko na sa Army talaga lahat ‘yang nasa ano (Then maybe I’ll place the army there in [BOC]). Hindi na ako maniwala niyan (I don’t believe) they are not allowed to work,” Duterte said.

“Since I cannot depend on the idiots, what should I do? Follow the rule that itong mga army, police, hindi makadala. And if my country is sinking, you want me to follow a rule that cannot help my country? I will not,” he stressed.

It will be recalled that Senator Panfilo Lacson had earlier said corruption remained “business as usual” inside the BOC because the “tara system” and illegal shipments such as drug smuggling remain in operation.  

In October 2018, President Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take over the BOC after billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs slipped past the Customs screening. – with details from Rosalie Coz

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