Why is it that when people think and talk abut their governing, their ruling and demanding national and local public officials, one of the most common thoughts and usual talk is the endlessly heard and continuously lamented fact of “Graft and Corruption” as some kind of an indissoluble pairing, a well-cemented partnership, an inseparable twosome. And as infallible ultimate effects thereof are the poverty and misery of the people, the popular disgust towards political figures and the accompanying increase in vicious as well as criminal activities practically all over the Country.
The truth of the matter is that as per report made on the occasion of his Pastoral Visit to Paraguay – one of the poorest countries in South America more than a week ago – nobody less than Pope Francis himself clearly and lamentably spoke about the corruption in government as some kind of a “gangrene of the people”. This means that hideous corruption – usually accompanied by graft – in a given country means the continuous decay of public welfare and the common good of its people. In other words, while the graft and corrupt practices of government officials enrich themselves plus their political allies they are in cahoots with, the ordinary people in turn suffer from want and despair So is it that while the former are having fun, the latter are immersed in misery and desperation.
It is both significant and interesting to take good note of the fact that while there are but Ten Commandments in accord with reason and ethics – pursuant even to faith and morals – no less than two of them are directed against graft and corruption, viz., “Do not steal” and “Do not covet the goods of your neighbour.” Among other things, graft and corrupt practices – irrespective of who are guilty thereof but particularly those in tenure of authority and/or power – must be heinous crimes deserving not merely censure but condemnation as well.
Question: What is graft and what is corruption? Why do they usually come in pairs? How come they are so detestable and hideous?
Answer: Graft means payoffs, kick-backs, spoils and other agenda that in effect means thievery. Corruption on the other hand has reference to downright stealing that brings about perversion and debasement.
So it is that graft and corruption usually come as a pairing in the sense of give-and-take among individuals all immersed in dishonesty, thievery, banditry – in government. The beneficiaries are public officials. The victims are the general public.
Concretely in the context of the Philippines, the still lamentably sitting Power-in-Command is well-known for and even identified with the poem “Matuid na Daan”, “Daang Matuid” or something the like meant to publicize the absence of corruption in government during his incumbency. But sorry, the poem remains but purely a poem to this date.