MANILA, Philippines – Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman called out President Rodrigo Duterte for releasing a memorandum ordering the resignation of presidential appointees because of alleged corruption.
"You have to balance this. All these presidential appointees serve under the pleasure of the President. In other words, they can be asked to resign anytime. But a widespread demand for resignation even of presidential appointees may not be valid in the face of the principle that they should be given due process," said Lagman in a press conference on Tuesday, August 23.
A day before, Duterte issued Memorandum Circular Number 4, series of 2016, which orders all presidential appointees to tender their resignations within 7 days.
The order, however, does not cover certain presidential appointees, specifically those recently appointed by Duterte, career officials, members of the judiciary, and some others.
Duterte explained his measure is rooted in his belief that, despite the administration's efforts, corruption persists in certain government agencies.
Lagman, however, compared Duterte's memorandum to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos' Letter of Instruction Number 11 issued on September 22, 1972.
Marcos' letter ordered the resignation of all presidential appointees except for the Supreme Court chief justice and associate justices, and the Commission on Elections' auditor general, chairman, and members.
For Lagman, Duterte's memorandum is unfair for the presidential appointees because their resignation will have a negative stigma.
"You can see an emerging pattern – the pattern of denying people, including public officials of due process… When you say that they should resign due to corruption, there's already stigma attached on the resignation," he said. – Rappler.com