EDITORIAL - No tolerance for corruption

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - No tolerance for corruption

It’s good to hear the incoming president saying he will not tolerate corruption in his administration. Corruption has become like a termite in this country, gnawing at the foundations until one day, if left unchecked, it can bring the house crumbling down.

And the campaign against corruption will need extra effort to gain credibility under the second Marcos administration. This battle is won through leadership by example, and the incoming president will have to navigate a minefield to show that he can provide this kind of leadership.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be closely watched for signs of trying to influence the judiciary in the numerous cases still pending against his relatives and family friends in connection with unexplained wealth amassed during his late father’s long authoritarian rule. His mother Imelda, for one, is out on bail following her conviction by the Sandiganbayan on seven counts of corruption.

The incoming president has said there will be no place for corruption under his watch, so he is carefully screening his appointments for the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue. President Duterte also made a similar promise, and he wasn’t saddled with a BIR demand letter for the payment of at least P23 billion in estate tax. Marcos Jr. will have to face this issue squarely if he wants his anti-corruption campaign to be taken seriously and the BIR to collect the proper taxes.

Beyond these cases, the Philippine bureaucracy suffers from structural weaknesses that facilitate corruption. The incoming administration will have to streamline processes across the bureaucracy to cut red tape and plug opportunities for graft.

Then there are the politicians who are among the most brazen violators of anti-corruption laws, who collect kickbacks from government projects and supply contracts, who intercede for smugglers at Customs, and who are among the biggest tax evaders and money launderers. A number of them are bound to be supporters of the incoming administration.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reportedly wants to be judged by his actions rather than by those of his parents. Any sincere anti-corruption crusader in this country has his work cut out for him. If Bongbong Marcos Jr. shows himself to be this kind of crusader, it would be a genuine golden age for the country.


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