By Roy Mabasa
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque chided Senator Leila De Lima for criticizing and calling for an investigation on the 8888 Citizen’s Hotline and Complaint Center set up by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte shortly after the latter assumed office last year.
“Maybe because she hasn’t tried it because she shouldn’t have a telephone inside her detention facility,” Roque told reporters on Monday during a press briefing in Malacañang.
When asked to elaborate on the progress of the 8888 complaint desk, Roque replied that the public is privy to the President’s action against government people who have been tainted with corruption.
Roque said there will be more such dismissals, adding that Duterte is sincere in his crusade against corruption.
“Nakita niyo naman na walang tigil ang pagsisibak ni Presidente sa mga taong- gobyerno na may alegasyon ng korapsyon.Marami pa po ‘yan dahil ang Presidente sinsero doon sa kanyang krusada laban sa korapsyon,” he said.
The Palace spokesperson then advised those in government to join the private sector instead if they want to get rich.
“Hindi po matitigil ‘yang paninibak na ‘yan. Ang mensahe nga namin sa lahat ng taong-gobyerno, mag-pribadong sektor na lang po kayo kung gusto niyong yumaman,” he said.
On Monday, De Lima filed a resolution seeking a probe on Duterte’s 8888 hotline, citing the program’s failure.
Citing reports, De Lima charged that the program failed to accommodate 1.4 million calls in its first few months because it was undermanned.
“Every peso of Filipino taxpayers’ money must be spent on programs and government services that actually work and are responsive to their needs, and not on programs launched merely to cosmetically or superficially fulfill campaign promises,” the outspoken lady senator said in her resolution.
In October last year, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 6 laying down the mechanisms and terms for the 8888 Citizen’s Hotline and Complaint Centre.
Effectively, the EO puts the 8888 Citizens’ Hotline and Complaint Center under the supervision of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Leoncio Evasco Jr.
Evasco, who is touted as one of the President most trusted men, served as chief of staff for many years when the latter was still Davao City mayor.
Under the EO, the complaint center is defined as a “mechanism where citizens may report their complaints and grievances on acts of red tape as defined under RA No. 9485 and other relevant laws, and/or corruption of any national government agency, government-owned or -controlled corporation, government financial institution, and other instrumentalities of the government.”