The Inquirer’s banner yesterday simply confirms what every normal journalist has known for the last three of the three and a half years that the Aquino administration has governed (or, some will insist, “misgoverned”) our country.
Noticeably bigger than previous declines is this Social Weather Stations’ survey finding that there has been a drop in the perception that President Aquino has governed well and that his anti-corruption thrust is being carried out earnestly. Face-to-face interviews of executives of 951 enterprises in National Capital Region, Metro Angeles, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas, Metro Iloilo, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, and Cagayan de Oro-Iligan—done from July 31 to November 29—yielded the finding that those “seeing ‘a lot’ of corruption in the public sector rose to 56% in 2013, from the record-low 43% in 2012.”
But, SWS quickly points out “Nevertheless, the 56% in 2013 is the second-lowest since 2000.” SWS is telling us that this deterioration is nothing to worry about.
More execs report personal knowledge of corruption
The executives who say that ‘most/almost all” companies in their line of business give bribes to win government contracts make up 42%, which SWS says is “practically the same as the record low 41% in 2012.” In other words, it’s worse but only very slightly.
Maybe those who talk about corruption are only gossiping or passing on the gloom-and-doom anecdotes of Aquino administration enemies. Whatever, the SWS report says “Those with personal knowledge of public sector corruption in their sector of business in the last 3 months [before the survey was conducted]rose to 38% in 2013.” Again, SWS points out that this increase is “nevertheless the third-lowest since 2000, from a record-low 33% in 2012.” So there, don’t worry, the claims of personal knowledge of corrupt transactions with government people in their own business sector increased only minimally.
If the President’s “tuwid na daan” anti-corruption measures were real and effective, people would have extensive personal knowledge of them, right. But what does it mean if, as this survey finds, “Those with extensive knowledge of the administration’s anti-corruption efforts fell slightly to 35% in 2013, from 37% in 2012”?
‘Somewhat/very effective’ steps versus graft…not
There has also been a fall in the number of respondents “saying that the administration’s steps to eradicate corruption are ‘somewhat/very effective’ ” to 73% in 2013, from 78% in 2012. But SWS describes this 5% fall within one year as “slight.” This should keep President Aquino’s and his men’s morale high.
But SWS did not describe as “slight” the fall of “those saying that government ‘often/almost always’ punishes corrupt government officials” from 27% in 2012 to only 20% in this 2013 survey.
This means that 80% of respondents agree with what we in The Times believe is the general perception and the reality that this administration hardly or almost never punishes corrupt government officials.
The survey finds that “Of the 24 government institutions rated for sincerity in fighting corruption, there were five (5) upgrades, nine (9) no-change, ten (10) downgrades from 2009/2012 to 2013, and two (2) first-time ratings.”
Office of President’s ‘Excellent net sincerity’ rating
Of the 24, “The Office of the President maintained the Excellent net sincerity rating in fighting corruption it obtained in 2012 (+80).” In this survey, the OP got a +77 rating (lower by three points than 2012). In the 2009 SWS survey, when the Arroyo administration was in power, the OP rating was “a Bad –37.”
“The sole agency with Bad net sincerity rating is the Land Transportation Office, which downgraded from Poor -26 in 2012 to Bad -32 in 2013, after Bad ratings in 2005-2009.” And “the The sole agency with Very Bad net sincerity rating is the Bureau of Customs, which downgraded from Bad -46 in 2012 to Very Bad -63 in 2013, after Very Bad to Execrable ratings in 2005-2009.”
Are these results of how business executives perceive government corruption and the Aquino administration’s efforts against corruption credible?
And even if they were, will these results make the President punish the crooks and the incompetent officials who appear to be under his munificient protection?
Will any of these findings result in less onerous—and economically destructive—electricity rates? In a better life for the 50 to 60 percent of our population who are destitute and go without food every so often?