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Easy way out for corrupt officials

05:04 AM December 12, 2017

The Inquirer reported that President Duterte is set to abolish an entire commission due to corruption (“Rody to fire entire commission tomorrow” 12/10/17). Does the President naively think that giving these government officials the easy way out (assuming they are indeed corrupt) by simply firing them or asking them to resign when found to be corrupt, without taking the further step of prosecuting them and meting out punishment if found guilty, will solve the problem of corruption in government?

Corruption and crimes (including extrajudicial killings) in government persist because the perpetrators are able to get away with murder so to speak, and with absolute impunity (for example, those government officials who, in conspiracy with drug lords, allowed P6.4-billion-worth of shabu to pass through Customs).

Firing or asking them to resign will not end corruption in government.

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What will deter these crimes is the certainty of investigation, prosecution and eventual conviction of their perpetrators; that is, for everyone to be made aware that an investigation will be conducted without fail, with the suspected perpetrators subsequently prosecuted and those found guilty thereafter meted out the punishment due them. The President just recently created an Anti-Corruption Commission tasked to investigate and/or hear administrative cases primarily involving graft and corruption against all presidential appointees. Why have we not heard from this commission yet?

Besides, does the President not know that it is the system itself which allows these government officials to abuse or misuse their public office or the power entrusted to them solely for their private interest or gain? How many morally upright men, once in power, end up becoming corrupted by the system? The system is characterized by lack of transparency and lack of people’s participation in decision-making. Just imagine corruption taking place behind a stone wall. We cannot prevent it because we do not see it. But imagine the wall to be transparent. We may not also be able to prevent it if there are no mechanisms for us, the public, to intervene and participate in decision-making.

If our President is indeed serious in crushing graft and corruption in government, he should take the lead in amending our laws and administrative procedures so that these structural
causes of graft and corruption will be addressed. Sadly, all he knows are facile solutions like killing criminals and giving the corrupt a slap on the wrist by merely firing them, which
casts doubt on his sincerity in fulfilling his campaign promise of ending crime and corruption in our country.

SEVERO BRILLANTES, brillanteslaw@gmail.com

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TAGS: Corrupt officials, Inquirer letters, Rodrigo Duterte, Severo Brillantes
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