Malacañang on Wednesday admitted that corruption remains pervasive in some levels of government despite President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s tuwid na daan policy of transparency and honesty.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration’s efforts to wipe out corruption in government is a work in progress.
He made the admission in the wake of survey results showing that more Filipinos believe that corruption only slightly decreased during the term of President Aquino.
A report of Berlin-based Transparency International showed that corruption in the Philippines somehow waned over the last two years.
“We recognize that there are still some levels of corruption but the people have seen that there is a consistent fight against corruption under this government,” Lacierda told reporters.
”This is an ongoing process and it will continue to the very last day in our administration,” he added.
Lacierda said the administration considers this as an affirmation of its efforts against corrupt practices.
”So is it something that is worth discussing? Yes, people do (believe). Those who were surveyed, at the very least, recognized that there [has]been an increase in the recognition that corruption has decreased under this administration and we continue to fight against corruption,” he said.
The survey also revealed that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was viewed as the country’s most corrupt institution.
Lacierda defended the police, saying the PNP has implemented a lot of reforms and “they continue to do a lot of reforms.”
”I’m sure that General [Alan] Purisima has continued all these reforms and will push for greater reforms in the police,” he said.
Lacierda acknowledged that government agencies tagged as most corrupt should “make some improvements.”
”These are perceptions. What is important is that in every institution, whether you are the most corrupt or the least corrupt, there should be a consistent fight against corruption,” he said.
Based on the “Global Corruption Barometer”, 35 percent of Filipino respondents said corruption in the country went down “a little” in the past two years, while 31 percent believed that the level of dishonesty “stayed the same”.
Despite the push for “Tuwid na Daan”, efforts in fighting corruption in the last two years were seen as “neither effective nor ineffective” by 31 percent of the respondents, although some 31 percent claimed they had an impact in curbing dishonest practices in the system.
With regard to the most corrupt institutions according to perception, the police topped the list with 69 percent, followed by public officials and civil servants (64 percent), political parties (58 percent), the judiciary (56 percent), and parliament and legislature (52 percent).
The survey polled 1,000 Filipinos across the country between September 2012 and March 2013.
In its report, Transparency International also said more than half of respondents in a global corruption survey think that graft has worsened over the past two years, and a quarter reported having paid officials a bribe in the last 12 months.
The survey also found that people have least trust in institutions meant to help or protect them, including police, the courts and political parties.
Respondents also believed official anti-corruption efforts had deteriorated since the 2008 start of the world financial and economic crisis.
The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is the world’s largest public opinion survey on corruption. It surveyed 114,000 people in 107 countries, Transparency International said.
It found that 27 per cent of respondents had said they had paid a bribe to a member of a public service or institution in the past 12 months, revealing no improvement from previous surveys.
The group pointed to a link between poverty and graft. Eight of the 10 countries with the highest bribery rates are African, said a Transparency spokesman.
In 36 countries, respondents viewed police as the most corrupt, while 20 countries view the judiciary as the most graft-ridden. In 51 countries political parties were seen as the most corrupt institution.
“Bribe paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International.
She added that “governments need to make sure that there are strong, independent and well-resourced institutions to prevent and redress corruption. Too many people are harmed when these core institutions and basic services are undermined by the scourge of corruption.”
WITH A REPORT FROM AFP