There is just too much focus on Janet Lim-Napoles and we could loose out on a great opportunity to address the culture of corruption we all believe must end, if we are to progress as a nation.
PDAF program is a well-meaning (political tool) but unfortunately, the project implementation system and procedures were purposely flawed in its design for a “reason.”
In any case, it is clear that corruption and graft points to corrupt personalities and not the PDAF program’s concept or objectives. So why throw the baby out with the dirty water? There are a number commendable examples of PDAF that were successfully implemented (media should report on them as well) in a manner compliant and consistent with the PDAF program concept and objectives with good results, and proper accountability. Although, I must admit . . . they maybe more the exception than the rule.
Seasoned management professionals and all logical thinking people know she (Napoles) couldn’t have gotten as far as she had without the participation and help of a lot of small people throughout the process in various organizations, agencies, involving personalities and offices like the Congress (both houses), the implementing agencies (headed by Cabinet secretaries who approve the projects), DBM which managed, scrutinized, prioritized and budgeted the funding release, COA which pass-on and certified the correctness of transaction or even BIR which is tasked to monitor transaction incomes to insure that correct taxes are collected on the transaction, as well as, other implementing government and private sector offices and political personalities, etc.; they too should be held to account.
If we really want to address the culture of corruption, let us not be too timid, kind or shy. We need to be all inclusive in our efforts . . . our efforts should not be personality sensitive, no matter who or how ever high or low, all should be held to account if we are to win the battle against corruption. We need to send a strong message to all the peoples involved in the transaction on notice.
We had trusted those involved in corruption and sadly, they are still employed with our tax money. We had expected them to discover any wrong in the process of any transaction that passes their hands. So, we should recognize that they are equally guilty in their ambivalence and therefore should be held to account as well.
There is no place for pity if we are to win the fight against corruption. All, especially the small people in government that process the documents, need to realize that they too have accountability and being only one small cog in the process is no excuse to allow corruption by being silent or looking the other way.
I hope media could be more through in its reportorial focus. Hopefully, media will not limit its reports only to high-profile personalities in the fight against corruption (there are many angle and stories if only media would go beyond handouts and sound-bites) if we are to avoid a recurrence of the same.
Media can play a big role to rid the country of corruption and graft. Their active participation will contribute positively towards fighting corruption at the root by sincere and honest reporting, calling public attention to the opportunity for corruption and graft.
They can help the public scrutinize projects, policy and implementing systems through their reports to expose opportunity for corruption and graft. And if warranted, via their editorial policy, they can champion change to help improve the transparency, system and the process of their reportorial subjects to stem the opportunity for corruption and graft irrelevant of where it may happen throughout the process.
Please note, we always blame the people at the top for corruption but corruption has been around for decades and has only gotten worse thorough the years. Even after we change people at the top, administration after administration, corruption is still our biggest deterrent to inclusive economic growth.
We have to recognize that unless we include in our fight against corruption, the people in government who see, handle and process the documents along the way to mature the transaction, corruption will continue and only prosper as the way to get ahead in government.
The people who move the documents through the system remain in-place and are not held to account. They have gotten bolder through the years. It is truly unfair to the greater number of dedicated and honest public servants if the corrupted facilitators go unpunished.
Take note . . . they, the corrupted alone, poses the institutionalized and systematic technology to perpetuate corruption and stay-on long after heads of office come and go!