Breaking the cycle of corruption


For several administrations now, Philippine politicians have been playing the blame game, or more appropriately, the blame shifting game. The present administration blames the previous administration for corrupt practices and whatever is messed up in the state’s current affairs, neglecting its own responsibility and accountability in such matters.

I will not be surprised at all if after the Aquino’s administration tenure is over, a few of its own officials if not PNoy himself will be charged with something or another by the next administration, that is, if the next one happens to belong to a rival political party.

The Filipino people are getting inured to corruption charges and are losing hope that something would ever come out of them that would truly change government and society.

Who can blame us? Sure, we have seen arrests and charges in court, from one administration to the next. But ultimately, did we ever get back most or even a little of the money that was stolen from public coffers? Did we ever get to change the system of government? Do we now have responsible and accountable politicians and government officials? Did the culprits get what they deserved or were they just jailed in comfortable prisons and released after a time or pardoned by the next administration?

Indeed, there are many instances when the people involved in corruption cases are rehired in government positions where they do their dirty deeds again. There are many instances where corruption cases fizzle out once media attention is no longer on them or are discontinued because some sort of compromise with the new administration has been arranged.

The Napoles pork barrel corruption case is the most shocking one yet because of the extent of the corruption. If there is even any iota of truth to the lists of pork barrel scammers that have so far been exposed to the media then how can you expect people to trust government at all?

Kim Henares asks citizens to pay their taxes. But citizens have the right to ask also: But where do our taxes really go? How much of it is wasted lining the pockets of corrupt government officials?

Indeed, going by the billions of the Priority Development Assistance Fund and other various government budgets that got misused, we are no longer talking about corruption but looting here. And so far, no one is fessing up. No one is resigning or admitting responsibility.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned and took responsibility for failing to prevent a ferry disaster in his country which left at least 288 people dead. Fat chance you would see the same kind of remorse and accountability from Filipino politicians who subscribe to the “weather-weather” philosophy, meaning, toughing it out until the cases lose their steam and media and the people forget. Sooner than later, they know, they will be out of the news cycle.

We have to break the vicious cycle of corruption whose consequences for our poor nation—and yes we are still poor no matter what the ratings agencies say or what government statistics claim—are obvious: hunger, poverty, pathetic public education system, pathetic public health services, poor infrastructure and high unemployment.

We use to be shocked at 20 to 30 percent commissions charged by corrupt government officials on public projects. Now we are talking of 100 percent of the budgets for government projects going to corruption. When will this end?

We have to break this vicious cycle or things will just get worse and it would be impossible to bring back the people’s trust in government.

TUCP in PDAF scam
Talk about accountability, we in the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines should walk our talk.

TUCP Partylist Cong. Raymund Mendoza should resign and spare the TUCP from charges of corruption or even plunder.

The TUCP Partylist has been dragged into the P10 billion pork barrel scandal because the so-called “Napoles List,” which includes 100 members of Congress, has Mendoza on it.

We must be honest enough to admit and tell the truth. We apologize to the people and the workers in particular because Cong. Mendoza imprudently used funds that came from taxes paid by our people. No legitimate TUCP member benefited from Mr. Mendoza’s pork barrel funds. That is why we are asking him to voluntarily resign and not wait for a congressional investigation or worse, be charged with plunder by Ombudsman and be convicted by the Sandiganbayan.

TUCP will not tolerate any violation of the public trust, especially if it involves taxpayers’ money.

Records show that Cong. Mendoza was granted P210 million of the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF since 2010. One of the implementing agencies of Cong. Mendoza is Philippine Forest, which was used as a conduit by the Napoles NGOs. A Commission on Audit (COA) report showed cases of overpricing in some of Cong. Mendoza’s PDAF projects.

It is time for reform and change, not only in the country, but everywhere, including our own labor unions. This is why we want to democratize the TUCP and put an end to the Mendoza family’s autocratic and corrupt leadership.


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