Corruption, is there an end to it?

HOTSPOT - Mocha Uson - The Philippine Star

Corruption within different agencies of the government has been the trending topic these past few weeks, ranging from controversial transactions of certain agencies to officials being fired by the President himself. While these issues are truly unfortunate given the firm stance of President Duterte, I believe that some of them – particularly those highlighted on mainstream media, are built on the foundations of misinformation or are a form of propaganda targeting specific agencies and/or officials of this administration.

A case in point is the allegations of an anomaly within the Presidential Communications and Operations Office’s (PCOO) ASEAN information campaign. Among other things, the Commission on Audit (COA) has explicitly stated that the audit report for the ASEAN information campaign is still ongoing and has not yet been released. In a separate letter to Undersecretary Noel Puyat by COA PCOO, they stated that the news report could not have been taken from their audit report and they have no knowledge of an ongoing investigation on the P647.11 million fund. To be frank, the PCOO today is far from what it was before; the office and its attached agencies are seeing a big improvement to their facilities and equipment during the current administration.

My question now is, what happened to the PCOO budget during the previous administration?

Another case that has become tabloid fodder is that of former Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. We are being forced to believe by news reports that the entire Tulfo family are involved in the controversy. I have been fortunate enough to be trusted with personal information about what actually happened, but since I cannot break their trust and disclose the matter publicly, I could only say that these reports – which are seeking to smear their name, are mediocre, if not outright funny.

Now, going back to corruption, is there an end to it? I believe yes, at least in this administration. This is because we have a president who does not tolerate even just a whiff of corruption. At the same time however, let’s be honest: the President cannot do it alone. To put an end to corruption, we must help each other in order to weed out morally depraved officials and government workers. We must no longer be scared because the President is with us in this fight.

Some people and groups may would have had us believe that corruption in the country increased or are only prevalent in this administration; sadly, that is not the case. Corrupt practices have been existing in the previous administrations – the only difference is that these days, it no longer matters whether you’re related, a friend, or an ally of the President because as long as you become involved with corrupt practices, rest assured that President Duterte will not hesitate to fire you.

Apart from the flawed system that allows corrupt practices to continue, I also believe that the problem of corruption lies on those who are confident that they can put a price on anyone and those who allow themselves to be blinded by greed. I have personally encountered instances wherein representatives from different companies and groups approached me with project proposals that they intend to do with the government in order to skip the usual processes. While they claimed that there is nothing illegal with their projects, they insinuated that they would provide for my needs if I choose to help them. Thinking about the trust given to me by the President, I declined. This is because I believe that money can be easily earned but trust is not.

There is also this story about a mayor who thought he could put a price on every one, tried to bribe a judge in exchange of a favorable ruling on his case. The judge declined, and in fighting against corruption, he paid the ultimate price. This judge, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than my father. I lost him when I was still in college, but while his death was painful, I clearly understand what he fought for. Of course, this is not to demand for all of us to risk our lives for the sake of transparency, accountability, and integrity, but just imagine what a better place we will be passing to the next generation if we stand firm and say no to corruption.


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