President Rodrigo Duterte blasted the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for corruption but cleared Secretary Mark Villar, saying the anomalies were caused by officials on the ground.

“Si Secretary Villar, mayaman. Si Secretary Villar, maraming pera ‘yan. Hindi niya kailangan mangurakot. Ang problema sa baba, malakas pa rin hanggang ngayon,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday.

“Iyang sa mga project sa baba, iyon ang laro diyan. So we might maybe place another structure there — structure to improve the integrity of the projects. Puwede ninyong ma-report maski ano basta corruption and walang patawad,” he added.

The Commission on Audit recently flagged the DPWH for overpricing and delayed implementation its 2019 projects. 

The proposed budget for DPWH for 2021 was P667.32 billion. It contains P345.25 billion in lump sum, consisting of the following appropriations:

  • P201.2 billion for road construction projects;
  • P29.04 billion for bridge construction projects;
  • P65.38 billion for flood management program; and
  • P49.63 billion for convergence and special support program.

The Senate has questioned the proposed budget in its deliberations.

Duterte asserted anew that he did not condone corruption.

“I do not forgive cases sa mga corruption. Wala talaga. Walang areglo, wala lahat. No quarters given, no quarters asked. Kagaya rin sa droga, walang pabor-pabor dito. No question that I am really mad. Galit ako sa droga,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro