It is not a secret that the present government is well known for systemic corruption. The Filipinos know. Asia knows. The world knows. In the listing of countries noted for its corrupt and corrupting officialdom, the country holds a place of distinction.
Formal pronouncements to counter corruption have been repeatedly made. Even foreigners were called to help in uprooting corruption from the government. Yet, corruption in government not only continues but has even gone from bad to worse.
Now, the present administration is prepared to spend one billion pesos to allegedly eradicate corruption. This is not only a blank admission of the dismal failure of government to correct its many and blatant corrupt practices. It also forwards the big question on how the government could clean itself of corruption by spending precisely such a huge corrupting amount of money.
The one billion counter corruption money is a clear admission that all financial check-and-balance entities in the government do not work. All the intelligence agencies and police forces with their mandate to counter corruption do not function. That is why corruption in government has already become institutional.
The one billion counter corruption money can in effect even promote more corruption in government. In the hands of corrupt government officials, at the disposal of corrupt government entities and agencies, how on earth could the money precisely stop corruption?
This is the fundamental difficulty posted by a government that is distrusted for its high marks in corruption. Such a highly suspect government in the mismanagement of public funds has neither the right nor the reason to blame people for doubting its integrity and honesty when it comes to handling money.
If one billion pesos really could clean the government of endemic corruption, this would call for a big and long celebration. But people should not hold their breath!
20 June 2006