Duterte tells new appointees to avoid becoming 'Judases'

By Alexis Romero

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte takes time to appreciate the painting of his portrait which was presented to him in Malacañan Palace on December 5, 2017. Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday reminded his new appointees to shun corruption and to avoid being “Judases” who will betray his trust in them.
 
Duterte said new government officials are like Jesus Christ since they entered the public service with the noblest intentions. But the “Jesus Christs,” the president claimed, could end up becoming Judases because of corruption.
 
“So we all start with the noblest of intention, joining government… we start good,” Duterte said during the mass oath-taking of newly appointed officials and officers of private groups.
 
“I hate to see you being a Jesus Christ, only to discover in the end that you are the Judas that I have been also looking for,” he added.
 
READ: Duterte creates presidential commission against corruption
 
Duterte was alluding to an anecdote involving Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, who is known for his “Last Supper” painting.
 
The president said Leonardo’s model for Jesus Christ was also his model for Judas, the apostle who betrayed his master.
 
“After he (Leonardo) paid (the model for) Judas, the model fell down on his knees and started crying,” Duterte said.
 
“(The model said), ‘You know, Mr. Da Vinci, I was once upon a time your Jesus Christ and that is me there (in the painting)… ‘I am one and the same person,’” he added.
 
But Duterte also used the anecdote to bash Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who has been accusing him of corruption.
 
READ: Deputy ombudsman: Duterte wealth probe treated with 'confidentiality'
 
“He (Leonardo) looked for someone who was evil-looking like Trillanes,” the president said.
 
“When he saw (the model), ‘Son of a b****, this is Trillanes,” he added.  
 
Duterte reiterated that he is bent on stopping corruption in government.
 
“There is still corruption (in government). I am urging you know, even a slight suggestion or whisper about money, refuse,” the president said.
 
“I am not trying to insinuate anything. But not during my time,” he added.
 
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by newly appointed government officials, officers of the Filipino-Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Inc., Philippine Chinese Charitable Association Inc. and the Malacañang Press Corps.
 
Among the officials who took their oath were illegal gambling whistleblower Sandra Cam, who was named board member of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; former justice Agnes Devanadera, who has been appointed Energy Regulatory Commission chair; former Army chief Arturo Ortiz, who has been named board member of Clark Development Corp.; Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy; former Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, who has been appointed social welfare undersecretary; Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Jesus Suntay; former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, who has been designated foreign affairs undersecretary; presidential consultant for sports Dennis Uy; and acting agrarian reform secretary John Castriciones.
 
READ: Duterte wants to probe agency investigating his wealth

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