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Duterte asks Filipinos to ‘find another Marcos’

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the public to “look for another Marcos” as he admitted he cannot fight corruption solely on the powers vested in him by the Constitution.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the 121st Philippine Navy Anniversary at Sangley point, Cavite province on Monday.  AP

Speaking before the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Sangley Point, Cavite, Duterte lamented the rampant corruption in the government, saying that he cannot fulfill his promise to get rid of corruption even with 20 years as president.

“It’s true, I have regrets because I thought the constitutional powers are enough. But truth to tell, if it happens every day, I can’t chase it,” he said.

“I can do it but with this Constitution even if you give me 20 years I cannot do it. Find another Marcos. Or someday, somehow, somewhere that fellow will be elected in the generations to come,” he added.

Elected in 1965 and re-elected in 1969, the late President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial in 1972, a year before the end of his second term. He then ruled by decree until he was ousted by a military-back popular uprising in 1986. He was accused of massive graft and corruption.

The Presidential Commission on Good Governance has managed to recover about $3.2 billion of the estimated $5 billion to $10 billion alleged Marcos ill-gotten wealth.

With the perennial problem of red-tape and corruption in the government, Duterte said the Philippines will never prosper economically.

“If you say we can improve beyond the level that we find ourselves economically, politically, well I’m sorry, I’m telling you, it will never happen),” he said.

Duterte has fired several government officials due to allegations of corruption, although he has been criticized for “recycling” people he had sacked by reappointing them to other government posts.

His allies also include officials aligned with political families accused of corruption.