Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category

Fighting corruption with "Moral Force Movement"

April 8, 2009

Chief Justice Reynato Puno of the Supreme Court finds the Holy Week celebration an apt occasion to remind Filipinos to fight corruption. In spite of the Philippines being the only Christian country in Asia, he tells the country’s moral degeneration that has made it a pariah among its neighbors.

“Corruption in the country has been deforming all its institutions, undermining our stability and security and preventing our socio-economic development. We can arrest this social decadence through a moral force.” —-Reynato Puno. Philstar (04/07/09, Punay, E.)

Last year’s Global Corruption Report revealed that RP’s corruption index hase fallen into the 141st spot tying with Cameroon, Iran, and Yemen, among 180 countries. This is a 10 point drop from the country’s rating of the previous year. The worsening corruption index had been attributed to major corruption cases that the government had been unable to solve.

Recently, World Bank (WB) exposed collusion in the giving of road project contracts in the Philippines which brings shame to government officials running the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH.) Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo is implicated in the scandal, but little effort is made to fully investigate his case.

Puno envisions the moral movement to be politically neutral. A moral force is being harnessed by tapping leaders for the “Moral Force Movement”—-from business, church, youth, and the media to combat the debilitating effects of dishonesty in government. Similar to the goals of “Kaya Natin Movement,” the moral force’s current focus is to help attain an honest presidential election in 2010.

Religious organizations like the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Philippine Bible Society and the Ecumenical Bishops Forum are supportive of the initiative that is long-overdue. (Photo Credit: by Zero_Q)=0=

“Moral Force” Movement Core Group

Reynato Puno, Chief Justice, Supreme Court
Marixi R. Prieto, Chair, PDI; trustee Metrobank & Gerry Roxas Foundation
Henrietta de Villa, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting
Mgsr. Gerardo Santos, Pres. Catholic Educational Asso. of the Philippines
Dr. Emerito Nakpil, (Ret.) Bishop of United Mathodist Church
Brig. Gen. Jaime Echeverria, (Ret.,) Asso. of Generals and Flag Officers
Dr. Milwida Guevara, Dir. of the Synergeia Foundatin
Atty. Andres Juan Bautista, Dean, FEU Institute of Law
Noorain Sabdulla, TOYM Awardee and Muslim Representative


Corruption charges for 17 DPWH officials in World Bank collusion scandal

March 26, 2009

Coming from a belabored delay on what to do with the World Bank’s (WB) report of corruption in the bidding of road projects in the Philippines, the office of the Ombudsman and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigate corruption charges on former sec. Florante Soriquez and 16 other officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH.)

If proven they are liable for violations of Section 3 (e) and (i) of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act; Section 4A (a) and (b) of RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees; grave misconduct; dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service; and neglect in duty, in connection with the bidding for two projects under the $150-million National Roads Improvement and Management Project-Phase 1.—Business Mirror (03/25/09, Solmerin, Z)

17 Officials Charged

1. Florante Soriquez—former sec. DPWH
2. Manuel Bonoan, chairman of Bids and Wards Committee (BAC) for Visayas and Mindanao projects
3. Bashir D. Rasuman, BAC assistant secretary
4. Salvador Pleyto, BAC assistant secretary
5, Juanito Abergas as BAC members;
6. Mocamad M. Raki-in Sr., vice chairman for the Mindanao area;
7. Rafael C. Yabut, vice Chairman for Operations for Area III.
8. Emersson L. Benitez, BAC member, project manager III and head of the BAC-Technical Working Group;
9. Baliame P. Mamainte, project director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-Project Management Office (IBRD-PMO);
10. Lope S. Adriano, the project director of the IBRB-PMO;
11. Joel I Jacob, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the legal service;
12. Camilo G. Foronda, OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services;
13. Antonio Manalo, Jr., Bureau of Research and Standards
14. Director Walter R. Ocampo, director of the Bureau of Construction;
15. Leonora Cuenca, , OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services;
16. Mario Bandelaria, project director of the IBRB-PMO
17. Florencio I. Aricheta, a representative of the National Constructors Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Construction Association.

“Graft investigators found sufficient documentary evidence to show that a violation of the Procurement Law has been committed. All 17 DPWH officials are being charged for approving bids that went beyond the approved budget of the $150-million National Road Improvement and Management Project-Phase 1“—-Mark Jaladoni, assistant Ombudsman. Philstar (03/26/09, Punongbyan, M)

The scandal linked Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, of bid rigging, causing a lot of public embarrassment when Philippine officials appear to stall the probe in spite of the leads given by a foreign lending bank like WB.

With competence and integrity in question, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who is saddled with an impeachment case against her, was heavily criticized for not acting on the corruption charges expeditiously. Sen. Miriam D. Santiago also led a “probe to nowhere” on the anomaly which disappointed the public. (Photo Credit: Mannan3) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “WB-funded road contracts & the US State Department’s charges of graft and corruption.” Posted by mesiamd at 2/28/2009; “Who bears the shame in the senate investigation of WB corruption scandal?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/16/2009; “World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates” Posted by mesiamd at 2/13/2009


WB-funded road contracts & the US State Department’s charges of graft and corruption.

February 28, 2009

For some weeks now, World Bank (WB) tells us of the corruptive practice which rigs the bidding of the foreign bank-funded road projects in the Philippines. Instead of being thankful to the international lending institution for giving important leads to curb corruption, some of our government officials have been defensive.

Without tangible effort to find out the truth, supporters of the Arroyo government thought of filing a “diplomatic protest.” As if to way lay the investigation, Sen. Santiago pompously crowed over “court evidence” and insisted on the foreign bank officials to feed the senate investigation with all the details of the allegation. WB officials in turn told our government investigators they couldn’t do the job for us. Careful not to trample on our national “pride,” they said it wasn’t the foreign bank’s duty. Yes, why then couldn’t we have our investigation without the help of an outsider like the foreign bank?

Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo, was at the center of the WB scandal. Santiago, an Arroyo ally, behaved as though it was WB’s interest over our own national interest that criminal wrong-doing be proven. The foot-dragging that followed demonstrated the lack of resolve to get into the bottom of the case. The inquiry led by Sen. Miriam D. Santiago was haphazard, diversionary and inutile.

If only to heighten our shame and incompetence, the US State Department, on a separate issue of human rights, called on our government to exert more in stopping graft and corruption. In its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 2008,” released last February 25, 2009, the department disclosed corruption in government agencies and the judiciary was among the reasons why basic human rights continued to be violated in the Philippines.

‘The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,‘ the report says.”—Inquirer (02/28,/09, Dizon, N; Burgunio, TJ)

What they are saying about us is consistently embarrassing, but many of us choose to keep the usual silence. Malacanang Press secretary Cerge Remonde tries to be “smart” by dismissing the accusations as merely perceptions and therefore not rooted on reality.

“Corruption is really more…perception than reality. This perception is making us more aware and more conscious of the problem. More people become vigilant in watching graft and corruption,” Remonde told a news conference at the Palace on Friday.”—PDI, (02/27/9, Guinto, J.)

Others like Remonde in government are defensive by pointing that even USA and other countries have shares of the same problem. Apologists for the country say the Philippines isn’t the only one. They try to downplay the stark contrast in how other countries respond to stop graft and corruption.(Photo Credit: Animationcomics) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009


Morality as an administrative order

February 18, 2009

The administrative order No. 5 signed by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo calls for a program that will bring moral renewal to the country. Is it for real? The presidential edict comes on the heels of many corruption charges which see no end. As the president’s tenure reaches the finish line, the entire nation wonders what will be accomplished by the action plan for moral rejuvenation. Zero tolerance towards corruption—that’s what the president says.

“Why only now? She should have done it long before. It is funny she’s calling for moral renewal now as it is only a year before the end of her term unless she plans to extend her term,” Jinggoy Estrada said.—GMATVNews. Net (02/17/09)

Widespread corruption is out of the box in the Arroyo government, but no one has the resolve to prove it. Used to inaction, Filipinos live in apathy and forlorn silence with their frayed cultural values. They hope a deliverer will come to rescue them— or something will happen by simply waiting.

Foreign observers point to widespread dishonesty, but most of us choose to keep our mouths shut. The emboldened corrupt among us are defensive. They are trying to convince us there’s nothing that can be done. It’s only a year before the next presidential election and many believe the government is better left alone to wither away for the next status quo. (Photo Credit: bw.futures(away)=0=


Who bears the shame in the senate investigation of WB corruption scandal?

February 15, 2009

If it is true that World Bank (WB) has no proof against Jose Miguel Arroyo (husband of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo) and others implicated in the rigging of WB-funded projects what next should the senate do? With the charges of corruption coming from no less than a foreign lending institution (whose reputation is undoubtedly better than the Philippine government,) Sen. Miriam D, Santiago must listen to what WB is trying to say: “If there is smoke, then there could be fire.”

Why then doesn’t she—the Senate Economic Affairs Committee chairman ascertain if the house is indeed on fire? Is Santiago trying to hide something? A known ally of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, is she trying to protect someone under her wings—perhaps Jose Miguel?

Instead of waging a “diplomatic protest,” an investigation is more productive to do. Besides, what is the country protesting for? The WB has already given away a favor. Aren’t the solons ashamed of being defensive? Instead of being shooting down the bad news, it’s more productive to ascertain the charges. There is no valid justification for a cover-up, a low-road exercise in dealing with this common problem.

The gutsy lady senator who is supposedly sane must not waste time. Her insistence that there is no evidence in the WB report (without investigating) distracts people from the vital issues of the controversy. As a government official, Miriam must be truthful. She must take the initiative of purging the country from corrupt practices—something which is doable if she follows the leads WB has so far disclosed.

Based on the bank report, it’s now the turn of the government to investigate and get to the bottom of the case. If the WB doesn’t have the evidence, this is the right time to seek and find. The public must not be misled into thinking that the rigging of contracts has not happened. It’s not at good idea to perpetuate the cynicism of the Filipinos, harass the WB, and pretend the country doesn’t need a lender.

Miriam has to do more digging. Whether there is corruption or not, the burden of proof lies in her turf. As chairman of the inquiry, she needs to bring the investigation to a credible conclusion to convince the world who is telling the truth, thereby freeing innocent people of the stigma of dishonesty.

Santiago’s high-handed display of power looks amateurish and blasé. It’s embarrassing the self-absorbed senator and her admirers wring the arms of foreign bank officials who care less if Filipinos are corrupt. She persistently waves around her intelligence—an ego-trip, a deluded peacock awareness of self, a condescending habit of demeaning people in public which are all counterproductive. To illustrate, here is her comments on Sen. Panfilo Lacson who correctly points out the lack of focus on the investigation:

“Di naman siya abugado, gusto niyang turuan ako. Di magandang ugali ‘yung tuturuan mo ang chairperson mo sa gagawin, lalo na kung wala ka namang background sa batas [He’s not even a lawyer and yet he wants to outsmart me. He’s not supposed to dictate to his chairperson on what to do, especially because he does not even have any background in law],” Santiago said.— (02/15/09, Dedace, S)

Obviously, it’s the whole town’s interest that Miriam’s bloated sense of erudition simmers below the fight against corruption. Regardless of the cost and the damage on the people involved, she must work (in spite of her misgivings for not being admitted in the International Court of Justice) to banish any suggestion of bias and defensiveness. Without this, shame on us Filipinos will continue to mount. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates” Posted by mesiamd at 2/13/2009


World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates

February 13, 2009

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is hotly agitated by the World Bank (WB) scandal. The corruption charges by the international lending body implicate Jose Miguel Arroyo, the palace’s “first gentleman” and husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The accusations of unlawful transactions inflame the pompous side of the flighty woman-senator who acts like a straight and unbending arrow.

Santiago has displayed irritation over the non-appearance of WB representative Bert Hofman in the January 27, 2008 senate hearing in which he is expected to clarify the allegations against government officials, influence peddlers, and road contractors. With the characteristic loquacious bravado that the lady-lawmaker is known for, Santiago blared:

““Mr. Hofman must come here in person or else we will cite him for contempt. Let this cause trouble (between the WB and the Senate) that would even lead to the Supreme Court or even the International Court of Justice. This is good because we will be able to test who between the World Bank and the Filipinos are the kings here.” —-Philstar (02/13/09, Calica, A)

Sen. Santiago’s incendiary words don’t fail to befuddle observers who think her thunderous tirades are nothing but another episode of “entertainment” in the corruption-riddled government. She effectively distracts the public from the sordid corruption charge in the WB-funded projects which has been “institutionalized” for at least a decade. While she seems urgently intent to pursue truth and punish wrong-doers in her ranks, many believe all the fury will die down before anyone will ever be proven accountable. She focuses wrongly on the messenger of bad news—the WB, instead of the rapacious perpetrators of the crime.

From whichever angle people look at the Santiago, her demeanor is a source of both pride and dishonor. She poses as a feisty defender of truth ready to uphold the dignity of the nation, something rarely seen in the slow-mo senate. But there are those who question her truthfulness and motive. From past experience, it is unlikely her noisy declarations will ever amount to anything beyond the exercise of words. At a time when the world suspects how deeply the country is mired in dishonesty, Santiago won’t probably go farther than mere investigations.

Even as the controversy goes on, Finance secretary Margarito Teves is already banking on the WB to increase its lending to the Philippines to a tune of $1 billion for the next few years. Keeping a warlike stance (instead of being conciliatory) is distracting. Sen. Santiago brushes aside the reality that the foreign bank isn’t obligated to humor the Philippines so that it can enjoy the “honor” of granting loans to the country. As a government official representing the country, there are those who think she is rude and crude—a loose cannon who blames the foreign bank for its “incomplete” disclosure, effectively deflecting the issue from the real crime.

It is said the leads pointing to fraud in the WB-financed project biddings have been passed on to Filipino authorities as early as 2007, but it’s only now (after the lid of corruption was blown open) that they see the urgency of investigating. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been criticized and threatened with dismissal for negligently sitting on the case.

The World Bank has already provided vital information to work on. Many wonder the aptness of the senate demanding more information from the foreign entity without the Philippines taking exhaustive effort to gather truth from its own backyard. As if to lamely cover up for glaring shortcomings and the embarrassments which go with incompetence and hypocrisy, Santiago’s blistering words have been set into play for the public to guess and digest. (Photo Credit:; ButchokoyD; Arenamontanus) =0=


“Mental stress” as a cause of non-appearance in court

February 12, 2009

It’s the medical judgment of Dr. Antonio Sibulo that Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo is unfit to appear in the inquiry regarding the collusion of government officials in rigging the contracts of World Bank-funded projects. It’s hard to know where the truth lies in Dr. Sibulo’s decision.

“Mental stress” can adversely affect the course of an illness, but it’s difficult to ascertain how it influences Mr. Arroyo. After undergoing aortic aneurysm operation in April 2007, he seems in no immediate danger if he testifies in the senate. With nothing said in the contrary, in all likelihood his surgery has healed.

Many assume Arroyo keeps proper medications which make him function proximate to a normal human being. His health hasn’t been an issue until lately when he is summoned to shed light to his alleged involvement in the WB anomaly.

Mr. Arroyo’s local and international travels are just as “stressful” as playing golf or watching Manny Pacquaio fight in a boxing match in Las Vegas. As far as the public knows, the doctors haven’t advised the controversial palace gentleman against such ”stressful” situations.

How can clarifying a scandal in public be so taxing if the man is innocent and has nothing to do with the case? Dr. Sibulo has this worry: “the mere sight by a patient of an ‘unlikeable’ person can increase stress. ‘What worries me as I see it in TV, temper and emotions run high and it takes a long time for such a hearing.’ ”— (02/12/09, Dedace, S)

There is a pattern that Filipinos see when suspected felons are called upon to testify on public crimes. This is particularly true with cases of national importance which have made the people cynical and incredulous.

The public has seen it in Jocelyn Bolante, a US deportee, who spent weeks in St. Lukes Hospital for “urgent” medical tests which delayed his testimony on the multimillion peso fertilizer scam that rocked the country. As observers rightfully believed, the hullabaloo in Bolante’s medical tests came out negative. Why can’t the senate keep a clinic, a team of doctors, and an ambulance to take care of medical emergencies if they happen?

Yolanda Ricafort, the infamous bagwoman of Pres. Joseph Estrada appeared in an inquiry on a wheelchair with a nurse ostensibly waiving a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer to guard her patient’s hypertension. After her dubious testimony, Ricafort escaped to the United States to avoid further questions regarding Estrada’s misuse and plunder of government money. How can Filipinos counter the rampant use of health problems as cover to impede the conduct of investigations?

The exploitation of health issues as props in criminal investigations was also evident in Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia who chose to stay in UST Hospital for extended in house treatment. At the end of the round-about investigation, Garcia was found guilty and later court-martialed for theft and money laundering of funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which brought disgrace to the whole nation.

With the glaring examples above, how can the public readily believe Dr. Sibulo? If mental stress will be used as basis for non-appearance in an all investigations, it is likely all attempts to find truth won’t prosper because everyone’s health is at risk—all because of “mental stress.”

Mr. Arroyo has a long list of corruption charges—all of which remain unproven because of many reasons: lack of witnesses, judicial sluggishness, “insurmountable” medical conditions among others. It’s time that Arroyo comes out clean and show his courage to rescue the entire nation from international embarrassment of corruption. There must be a way, with Dr. Sibulo’s help, to make him testify so that he’ll not be perceived as guilty or be accused of malingering and cowardice. (Photo Credit: ButchokoyD) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/10/2009; “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Hospital: a vacation house or a sanctuary for malingerers?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/29/2008.


Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?

February 10, 2009

We face foreign aid cuts due to corruption. It is shameful that our country which seeks assistance abroad is being singled out as unworthy of help because we are dishonest. Obviously, this is morally and economically damaging. Foreigners are saying untrustworthiness will hurt us in the end. It’s time we heed the criticisms and do corrective action.

“The Philippines is facing a big cut in foreign aid because corruption in government is “deeply entrenched” and the World Bank report is “worrying” a big donor country, a diplomat disclosed yesterday.

The diplomat from the major donor country, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their government is closely following the WB report and the investigation into the anomalous road projects funded by the foreign financial institution and the extent of government corruption that has identified First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo as the alleged patron of colluding contractors in a $33-million road project in 2003. “—-Philstar (02/10/09, Lee-Brago, P)

Corruption is getting worse. Our leadership is in crisis. Right at the heart where Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo weaves power, allegations of corruption in her administration are common. Even members of her household have been repeatedly accused of dishonesty in government. The charges are too many—and too embarrassing that even foreign observers are stunned.

Though most of us acknowledge that there is worsening corruption, almost no one is ready to face it with candor, righteousness, and accountability. Instead, there is damning apathy and lack of concern.

Those who are guilty dodge the issue by denying the accusations. Most of them who are influential keep a blind eye and take advantage of the weakness of the legal system. Most corruption charges remain unproven in spite of investigations with telling evidence. There is little effort to ferret out the truth and bring the guilty accountable. This is bad to the future of the nation and the next generation. (Photo Credit: gmaresign; zero+q) =0=

RELATED BLOGS:“Not as a lecturer or as a judge,” EU thinks RP must do more to curb corruption Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009


“Not as a lecturer or as a judge,” EU thinks RP must do more to curb corruption

January 28, 2009

Many huge corruption charges in the Philippines involve officials in the highest corridors of power, but almost all of them remain as accusations displayed like dirty laundry for the public to bear. At the cost of the country’s credibility, almost no one gets punished. The entire nation keeps a blind eye of the growing list of scandals whose outcomes are often tip in favor of the crime doers.

For a long time, corruption comes like a foul odor ignored by the government and its citizens. The stench is allowed to stay, follow its course, until it dissipates in the wind. That’s the usual course that has incrementally robbed the country of its shame and dignity. The public is tired, perhaps, about to give up on corruption—for even with laws in place, there is little accountability. There is almost no public outcry of protest.

Illegal deals and criminal transactions occur right on the face of a Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo. Circumventing the law is common, perpetrated by criminals in broad daylight without embarrassment. The hideousness of the corrupt practices has prompted foreign entities like the World Bank (WB) and European Union (EU) to sound their alarm; they point to government deals that smell too stinky to brush aside. The latest is the WB disclosure of fraud in its bank-financed projects.

The president’s husband Jose M. Arroyo, just like in the past, has been linked to greedy collusion schemes. The latest is with the E.C. De Luna Construction Corp, one of the contractors named by the World Bank for rigging the bidding process of road projects funded by foreign money. Officials of the foreign bank are dismayed by the scale of corruption that is traced way back in 2007.

Careful not to rub the sense of shame of Filipinos, WB’s corruption charges which point the complicity of Chinese partners, suggest that the international community can’t just watch the dirty way the government is run. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo continues to play the charade for the nation.

The EU also sounded its concern by offering the Philippines help to fight corruption. Ambassador Alistair MacDonald of the European Commission said in a Commission of Human Rights meeting in Manila that the EU “sees corruption as a symptom of poor governance and lack of transparent, accountable management, and control system. —Philstar (10/28/09, Clapano, JR)

There it is. MacDonald is right in saying that officials, the civil society and media must work together to fight corruption in government by observing “transparent electoral processes and supporting parliamentary and judicial oversight.” The country can’t live with perversion of integrity that is out in the open and politicalized for everyone to see, but can’t do something against it.

Even if the outside world wants to help the Philippines solve corruption, it is still the people who must first reject and work against it. There is no shortage of anti-corruption laws. They are just waiting to be enforced, not by officials who are themselves corrupt, but by those who are committed to move the country ahead.

The fight against corruption needs ethical leaders to help government officials and business leaders reform their ranks. They need moral rejuvenation and accountability which must be taught and applied in the community. With the nation’s fate at stake, there is deep shame when foreigners remind Filipinos of their freedom, duty for country, and moral responsibilities. (Photo Credits: Almostevil665; wdbphoto) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “On Philippine Corruption And Our Being Inure To It” Posted by myty555 at 12/16/2008

Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

January 28, 2009

“The 2006 World Competitiveness Survey by the Switzerland-based Institute for Management Development ranked the Philippines 60th on bribery and corruption among 61 countries surveyed. In the 2007 report of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, using a grading system with 10 as the worst possible score, the Philippines got 9.4, worsening sharply from its grade of 7.8 in 2006.

The problem of corruption in the Philippines is getting worse, and it appears that it is not just a problem of perception but an actuality. The corruption cases are increasing not only in number but in the amount of money involved. In the past, the big cases involved tens of millions of pesos; now, the figures run into hundreds of millions and even billions.” —-Inquirer (06/30/08, Editorial, Worsening Corruption)

1. Filipino & Chinese bid-rigging cartel in bank-financed projects exposed by World Bank

2. Jocelyn (JocJoc) Bolante’s P728 Million Fertilizer Fund Scam diverting agricultural funds for the 2004 election campaign of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

3. $329 Million Philippine National Broadband Network-Zhong Xing Telecommunications Deal (NBN/ZTE mess)

4. The $2-million IMPSA (Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima) alleged bribery case involving Justice secretary Hernando Perez to rehabilitate the 750-megawatt Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) power complex in Laguna.

5. The allegedly overpriced P1.2-billion Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard Construction

6. Commission on Elections’ P1.3-billion poll computerization program

7. Pres. Joseph Estrada Plunder Conviction and the Controversial Hasty Pardon

8. “Hello Garci” alleged Election fraud of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

9. Unexplained Wealth of Government and Military Officials—some of them take tasks of “investigating” corruption

10. Money Laundering Schemes like the “Euro Generals Scandal”

11. Maj. General Carlos Garcia’s amassed P143 million wealth in AFP

12. The P500,000 cash-gift distribution (bribe?)in Malacanang Palace in 2007

13. Tax Evasion, Special Purpose Funds & Public Procurement Anomalies

14. Killings, tortures, and disappearances of journalists, plain citizens, and perceived enemies of government

We probably know the brazenness of corruption to a point of surrender. So we either ignore them or we shield ourselves from truth by pretending wrong-doing and perversion will go away. We have our own psychological adaptations that work for sometime just the way we’re tempted to run away from moral rectitude and brush aside responsibility.

The brave among us however face reality as it comes. No matter how hard and hurting, we understand the need to correct our errors. We know life is a succession of battles where courage, tenacity, and optimism are required and apathy has no place. We need integrity as a hedge against fraud; honesty is a positive force to renew society. Consider the corruption in the world. What can we do about it? (Photo Credit: Zero Q)=0=