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Graft and corruption

Graft and corruption

WITHOUT the least intention of offending anyone, much less the option to condemn anybody, the relevant and significant question may be rightfully asked: Why is it that among the citizens of this Republic, certain public officials who are precisely avowed to safeguard public welfare and to promote common good, are the ones rather predisposed to engage in graft and corrupt practices to the detriment of their constituents, to the big curse of the poor, to the loss of their own Country as a whole? So it is that among many other social liabilities, prohibited drug manufacture, sale and use are perceived as matter-of-course.

It is bad enough when the impoverished claim and keep what is due to people who are poor like them and thus live miserable lives. It is worst when the wealthy themselves still covet what rightfully belongs to others when they in fact already have much more than what they need. But it is the summit of dishonesty and hypocrisy when supposedly public officials are siphoning public temporal goods for themselves when such temporal benefits are precisely intended for the common welfare of their constituents, most of whom are wallowing in poverty and dying in want.

There are so many issues, so many questions, so many doubts about the honesty and integrity of public officials, among whom the upright and honest are quite rare and singular. The truth is that it has come to the extent that practically all public officials are sadly presumed grafters, corrupt and corrupting personalities. So it is that right or wrong, true or false, the governed look at those governing them as some kind of the incarnations of graft and corrupt practitioners. This is neither fair nor reasonable but such a negative perception is the rule of the day. So it is that to name but three phenomena identified with the incarnations of graft and corruption:

There is the markedly detestable, abominable and thus infamous patronage of the so-called “Pork Barrel System” that gave birth not only to its patrons but also no less than its own “Queen”. Where is the pork? Gone! Where is the barrel? Who knows! What about the queen? Who cares! The standing truth and glaring reality is that a good number of the then reigning public officials, especially those in the Legislative Department blindly obedient to the Executive Department, are now not only very quiet but also unseen.

There is the long since horrendous and customary selling and buying favors at the Bureau of Customs which is at times precisely translated as the “Bureau of Corruption”. This is not fair whereas there must be still some officers and clerks therein who can be still presumed honest and wherefore innocent. But it has become incongruous and even irrational to assume that the bad eggs in the Bureau are few and far between. From downright garbage to prohibited drugs they come and go–for the right fee of course.

There is the now on-going standard accusation and counter-accusations about too much wealth in the hands of so few individuals in line with the maxim that guns, gold and goons have been long since identified with Philippine elections–from the barangay to the municipal, from the provincial to the regional up to the national levels.