ANTI-corruption advocates on Friday said corruption in some agencies of government has been deeply entrenched and it would need someone with strong political will like President Rodrigo Duterte to stamp it out.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) called on the President to take over the helm of three government agencies – the Bureau of Customs (BoC), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – perceived to be corrupt.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, said lawyers of the organization were drafting a letter to Duterte asking him to take over the management of the three government agencies.
“We will recommend these three agencies for the President to lead. I think it is time for the President to really take command responsibility in the war against corruption,” Jimenez said in an interview.
The BOC, BIR and DPWH have consistently obtained poor survey ratings in corruption perception surveys.
In 2016, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) ranked the Customs bureau as the least sincere government agency in fighting corruption with a rating of -68, which was described by the survey firm as “very bad.”
BIR and the Public Works department got “poor” ratings on their respective campaigns against corruption, at -27 and -22 respectively.
Jimenez said the corruption problem in several government agencies was so serious that even if the President appointed honest men to lead these offices, they would end up either eaten up by the system or defeated by it.
He cited as example the case of resigned Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, who was replaced by the President following the controversy over the P6.4-billion illegal drug shipment from China that was released from the Bureau of Customs undetected.
Jimenez said he could vouch for the integrity and honesty of Faeldon, but the system and bureaucracy in Customs prevented the ex-Marine captain from reforming the agency.
He said Faeldon formed his own team at the BOC to fight corruption, but was unable to check the enormous number of cargoes and transactions.
The same is true with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Martin Diño, he said.
“If erring officials of these agencies are not afraid of their heads who were appointed by the President, let’s see where they would end up once the President takes over management of their agencies,” Jimenez said.