President Duterte has ordered the firing of all commissioners of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced yesterday.
“The President stated two grounds – No. 1, it is, according to him, a collegial body, and they have not met as a collegial body; and No. 2, the commissioners are notorious for junkets abroad,” Roque said in a press briefing.
He reiterated that the Duterte administration is serious in its drive against corruption.
Roque initially said that the chief executive was set to “abolish” the urban poor commission.
But an hour later, Roque clarified that Duterte will “fire all commissioners of PCUP and not abolish it.”
“With sincerest regrets I would like to correct the statement I made on the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) during this morning’s press briefing. It is to fire, and not to abolish the Commission,” Roque said.
In his speech delivered during the 84th anniversary celebration of the Department of Labor and Employment in Malolos, Bulacan on Dec. 9, Duterte hinted he will fire an entire commission over corruption issues.
The current PCUP commissioners are former party-list representative Terry Ridon, Dr. Melissa Aradanas, Dr. Joan Lagunda, Manuel Serra, and Noe Indonto.
Ridon, who sits as chair of the PCUP, was not informed about the President’s decision. “He himself was not personally notified by the President. I had to tell him,” the Palace spokesman said.
Roque believed that Ridon had prior information about what is coming. “He suspected that it was his agency. I talked to him before the briefing and he confirmed that he had suspicions that the President was referring to PCUP,” Roque.
For his part, Ridon thanked Duterte for the opportunity to serve the country, but said the agency’s record “can speak for itself.”
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 82 dated Dec. 8, 1986, PCUP was established to serve as the “direct link” of the urban poor to the government in policy formulation and program implementation.