Miriam lists traits of corrupt politicians ahead of 2016 polls

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Thursday warned the youth against potential candidates in 2016 who will likely commit plunder and corruption if elected to office.

In a speech at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Santiago reminded the youth that the country will enter into the campaign period for the 2016 elections by the end of this year.

"With so many pending cases for plunder and corruption against high-profile political leaders, common sense dictates that as scholars, we need to examine the culture of corruption: its sources, its mind-sets, and whether the candidates we vote for might present a profile of corruption as a work in progress," Santiago said.

Santiago said corruption in the Philippines is "schematic because it has become a routine practice in the conduct of daily business."

"This is why it is of the utmost importance to choose the best possible president and other national officials in the 2016 elections," Santiago said.

Santiago urged the youth to examine candidates with logic and reason and ensure that they are equipped with a record of academic and professional excellence and achievements recognized on the national or even international level.

The senator did not name names but she enumerated the traits of a corrupt official that the public should watch out for:

  • Machiavellianism, which refers to a mind-set characterized by manipulation and the need for power.
  • Narcissism, which refers to an inflated sense of self-importance and grandiosity;
  • Subclinical psychopathy, which results from an aggregate of maladaptive trait deficits linked to antisocial deviance.
  • Weak moral identity and primitive moral thinking as exhibited by the candidate who values personal loyalty over formal rules and does not distinguish between organizational and personal goals.

Santiago said candidates prone to plunder are "highly neurotic" individuals who also exhibit the following: future orientation, power distance, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and social dominance orientation.

She also warned against politicians with moral disengagement.

"Sometimes this person commits an act of corruption by morally disengaging himself from the corruption by justifying the act using palliative comparisons," Santiago said.

"For example, the person linked to plunder will continue to receive kickbacks, on the reasoning that the kickback is very little compared with earnings of a convicted plunderer," she added.

Santiago believes that the most notorious act of plunder in the country is the abuse of the pork barrel system. 

Santiago lamented that the Philippines was ranked 94th in the 2013 Corruption Perception Index despite having the highest number of anti-corruption measures in Asia.

She said the next president can help eliminate corruption by taking certain actions such as providing more protection for whistle-blowers, granting more transparency and access to information and strengthening the country's weak political party systems.

The senator said the next president should also reduce the involvement of politicians in appointment systems and reduce the excessive power of the executive branch.

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