Dureza apologizes for failing to curb corruption at OPAPP

By Azer Parrocha

November 27, 2018, 10:04 pm

MANILA — Resigned Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Tuesday apologized to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for failing to prevent the alleged corruption within his agency, the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

This after Duterte, during the inauguration of the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, announced that he has accepted Dureza’s resignation, saying he was “very sad” but accepted his decision.

In the same speech, Duterte said he has fired OPAPP Undersecretary and PAMANA National Program Manager Ronald Flores and OPAPP Assistant Secretary for Support Services and PAMANA Concerns Yeshter Donn Baccay due to corruption but did not elaborate.

Dureza, in a press statement, said he was stepping down from his post to allow a “needed reorganization” within the OPAPP.

“I am voluntarily tendering my resignation to pave the way for the needed reorganization that Your Excellency may wish to undertake at OPAPP,” Dureza said.

Dureza said he was glad, but with some amount of sadness, that Duterte will be terminating two OPAPP officials.

He said he tried to gather evidence to give basis to his planned move to sack the two OPAPP officials if warranted.

After talking to some local officials, he said he was able to validate some reports but they declined to be officially quoted.

Dureza said he also installed an internal Ombudsman with an outside lawyer to help validate and gather evidence due to persistent rumors about corruption.

He also took efforts to publicly warn the public through the social and mainstream media against corruption in the implementation of PAMANA projects and requested information with assurances of confidentially of the source.

He, however, said he was saddened how, despite his efforts to comply with Duterte’s advocacy against corruption, he failed by concentrating on concerns in relation to planned resumption of peace talks.

“I had left the internal functions to my other OPAPP appropriate officials while I concentrated my attention on the big task of dealing with challenges of peace,” Dureza said.

“I truly am sad that OPAPP , as an institution which I head, had to suffer publicly due to the acts of a few. Nonetheless, I take full responsibility and apologize for all this,” he added.

Dureza thanked Duterte for the opportunity of being the Presidential Peace Adviser under his watch, and urged everyone to continue rallying behind the Chief Executive. 

"Although I have voluntarily relinquished my assigned task at OPAPP, I call  on everyone to continue supporting our President. I will continue to do so in my private capacity. I believe in him and in his sincere intentions for our country. He cannot do this alone," he said in a post on social media. (PNA)