Corruption in government is costly—in many ways.
It is a causal factor of national underdevelopment, debt crisis, poverty and social instability. It breeds discontent, dismay and disbelief in government capacity.
It is costly to the people. It is basically government corruption that gives birth to the distrust of foreign investment, the flight of local capital, the need for more and more taxes.
It is costly to the country. It gives birth to separatists movements, downgrades its credit rating, promote its isolation from the civilized world.
First and foremost, it is costly to the national leadership. Endemic corruption immobilizes it, threatens its moral legitimacy and undermines its political stability.
In a country like the Philippines where partisan politics is highly ingrained in governance and where there is structural corruption, the national leadership needs the support of all its political allies and defense forces to survive, to remain in power.
Considering that to the perception of many and the allegations from the different sectors of society, corruption appears to lure among some of the members of the said political allies and defense forces, woe to the national leadership if and when it honestly and decidedly confronts them.
That is precisely the price of combating endemic or structural corruption in the country as far as the national leadership is specifically concerned.
Not that it cannot rid of corruption in the country, Not that perhaps it does not want to confront corruption. But is it prepared to take the big risk of losing both the battle and the war?
+O.V. CRUZ, DD
22 February 2005