GOVERNMENT NOW OUR ENEMY? It was during the time of President Ramon Magsaysay when the citizens truly had faith in the government.
His administration was considered the cleanest. Trade and industry flourished, the Philippine military was at its prime and
the Filipino people were given international recognition in sports, culture and foreign affairs. The Philippines then ranked
second in Asia's clean and well-governed countries. Magsaysay's regime was the Philippine's golden years. After this, public
service went on a downward fall. Public officials who were supposed to serve and improve the structures of the country collected
their buck to enrich themselves with land (that belonged to the people), established corporations that exploited our natural
resources (like coal, mine, copper, water) and got involved with shady deals at the expense of the taxpayers. A thread of
greed had been set by these officials. They became rich and kept a heritage of public service. To this day their families
continue the lineage of power... P-Noy must develop a strong system to spot check or counter-check the actions and initiatives
of his people. This is the only way to ensure that everything they do is in accordance with his vision. At this point in time,
in many agencies, particularly those responsible for the issuance of government permits, I still notice officers receiving
direct payments and they want cash! Where are the windows that separate the officers who approve the permits from the cashiers?
Why do the people who issue permits get to accept the money? Isn't this system encouraging more corruption?... The first year
of P-Noy is crucial. He must continue to be in control and not give his men total freedom to make decisions. Their decisions
must be aligned with his vision in leading the country. And the best way to do this is for him to persistently reinforce his
ways of management and leadership. Leaders fail when they have a lack of foresight to plan for the future. P-Noy needs a checklist
so that nothing will be missed. If he needs to be an obsessive-compulsive leader in order to succeed, then he must do so.
- Sara Soliven De Guzman in the Philippine Syar
EX-PRESIDENT FIDEL RAMOS: Can't P-Noy do something to reverse Tagaytay's deterioration? >>> The Philippine Star reported that
the two Tolentino brothers..."amassed some R500 million in ill-gotten wealth by way of unabated graft and corruption, abuse
of power, and authority in the form of real estate properties, businesses, vehicles, and bank deposits, which in no way can
be justified as having been acquired legally through their earnings as public officials or even their private business ventures."
Comes now Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda with an unjustified dismissal of these serious charges as simple harassment
with this statement: Tolentino is aware that graft charges would be filed (against him). The President is also aware of the
graft cases filed before the Ombudsman,
LETTER FROM BENJAMIN HABITO >>> THE PRESIDENT'S campaign slogan, "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap," inspired the theme
for a discussion forum held last Saturday by the Galing Pook Foundation (GPF). The question addressed by the forum was: How
do we go into the praxis of the slogan? In particular, how can the GPF, an organization devoted to excellence in local governance,
help operationalize this credo?... It turns out that the Philippines has no shortage of laws and structures against corruption,
as Lazatin pointed out. We actually have an impressive and elaborate legal and institutional framework for combating corruption
in government, from the Constitution to various republic acts and executive orders and issuances. And yet, using internationally
recognized measures developed by Transparency International and the World Bank, our country ranks among the highest in incidence
of corruption and among the lowest in quality of governance, with recent years seeing further deterioration. Sadly, in our
country, there is a world of difference between theory and reality. As always, it is in enforcement and implementation and
in recent years, in failure of institutionswhere we have fallen apart miserably. But there remain gaps in the legal framework
as well. Lazatin identified two crucial items in the Constitution on which our lawmakers, for over two decades now, have been
remiss in translating into the needed enabling legislation: the guarantee of freedom of information, and the ban on political
dynasties. On the former, many of us were puzzled at the glaring absence of any mention in the Presidents recent State of
the Nation Address of the Freedom of Information bill, shot down near the finish line by the last Congress. No one beyond
P-Noys innermost circle seems to know the real reason for this uncharacteristic omission; one can only hope its not an ominous
sign that the enemies of transparency are gaining some headway in the new leadership...
Truth Commission >>> A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) August 02, 2010 With the inconclusive
results on the investigation of the charges of lying, cheating and stealing allegedly committed during the reign of ex-President
now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the creation of a "Truth Commission" to probe into said charges seems to be really
necessary especially because of the peoples' extreme frustration and disgust when the previous attempts to look into them
did not even reach first base.
LETTER: Merceditas Gutierrez not the legitimate Ombudsman
Delivering on the war against corruption
David L. Balangue, Philippine Daily
“KUNG WALANG corrupt, walang mahirap” lays the
foundation of President Noynoy’s administration, and we could not agree with him more. With his State of the Nation
Address (Sona) last Monday clearly underscoring this, the Filipino nation will now anxiously wait for him to deliver on his
promise to fight corruption. We have seen how the efforts to go after the corrupt officials of the Marcos administration have
failed miserably, and we hope and pray that we would not see a repeat of the corrupt going scot-free and of government failing
to land even just one big fish in jail.
Such failure has simply encouraged the corrupt to continue with their
merry ways, trusting in the Filipino’s proven poor memory—and even shorter recall. Or could it be that, frustratingly,
the corrupt—especially those with power and authority—outnumber the honest and true? It is likewise largely observed
that the corrupt find strength and comfort in aiding and abetting “partners in crime” and thus they obliterate
the crime by association—meaning, since everyone is guilty, including some “legal enforcers” for sale, who
will first blow the whistle?
The legacy of the Marcos era is full of accounts about corrupt officials
“getting away” and regaling such “feat” with pride and false bravado. The Filipino’s mental
acuity was so blunted by the never-ending stream of “white noise” made to slacken public vigilance against corrupt
acts perpetrated and abetted with growing brazenness and shamelessness. The biggest reason for the failed prosecution of corrupt
officials of the Marcos-era is the extremely slow wheels of justice caused by the incompetence of the prosecutors; or the
lack of purpose and seriousness in going after the perpetrators; or the serious defects in our justice system; or, most likely,
a combination of all three. A key guiding principle of justice is the phrase “justice delayed is justice denied.”
Many of these cases, particularly those against the Marcos family and cronies, have been dragging on for more than 20 years
now. Do we have to wait another 20 years to see justice finally served? And how could justice be served when the accused die
of age-related diseases, and judges have to retire and be replaced because it has taken decades to decide the cases, if at
all they have been decided? Indeed, our tendency to “forgive and forget” is abetted by the sheer greed of the
shameless perpetrator and those equally guilty for letting him/her go scot-free.
This extraordinarily long and unjustifiable delay in the resolution of
these cases is a matter that needs to be urgently addressed by the Supreme Court and our President.
How should we judge the success or failure of our new government in redressing
such longstanding injustice to our people? To the Filipino nation, it should not be simply about numbers—e.g., how many
cases will be filed by the Truth Commission against corrupt officials and those who had a hand in circumventing or obstructing
With the rise of a trusted administration, Filipinos should not settle
for anything less than the imprisonment of the guilty and the recovery of their ill-gotten wealth within one year. The prosecution
of large-scale corruption should be time-bound; the seemingly never-ending court hearings laced with postponements ad nauseam
should be a thing of the past.
Putting immediate closure to these cases can be achieved without sacrificing
due process and the right of the accused to defend himself or herself.
We as a people should not be “too nice” to the corrupt. The
crooked and fraudulent should be despised, ignored and not worshipped as idols to be emulated or, worse, voted to public office.
Playing blind to the depravity and greed of the corrupt has no place in President Noynoy’s administration. It is indeed
unfortunate that our right to vote has been so debased by known corrupt individuals who see and use the public office as a
means not to serve the nation but to stay in power, and as an opportunity to amass more wealth. To date, with the laudable,
sincere, well thought out, focused, frank and transparent actions of President Noynoy and his men, the Philippines is poised
to turn over a new leaf. We are aware who the corrupt are in our midst; they stick out like sore thumbs today, unlike before,
not too long ago, when they blended well with the rotten apples and the rotten landscape. Now that transparency and accountability
are par for the course, the unrefined, ugly, calculating and opportunistic ways of the corrupt are no longer welcome nor condoned.
We herald the start—and continuation—of a Filipino culture that shuns corruption and demands honesty, transparency
and accountability from our government officials.
David L. Balangue is a former chairman and managing partner of SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co., and
past president of the Management Association of the Philippines, the Financial Executives Association, and the Philippine
Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Justices keep SALNs secret
High court black hole
in transparency drive
by Malou C. Mangahas
First of two parts
GOOD GOVERNANCE is the solemn promise of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Transparency and respect for access to information
could enable it; the rule of law, or the prosecution of cases built on evidence before the courts, could assure it endures.
In President Aquino’s epic effort to rid the government of corruption, the judiciary will perform the critical role
of arbiter, judge, and guardian. Yet the judiciary itself is nurturing a black hole of information, which could swallow into
nothingness initiatives to limit, if not stop, corruption.
For years now, the judiciary has insisted on its supposed prerogative not to disclose information and documents vested
with public interest, in utter defiance of anti-graft laws and the Constitution.
For one, in several issuances since 2001, the Supreme Court has stubbornly refused to publicly disclose the statements
of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of its members as well as that of 2,194 justices and judges and 23,224 other court
personnel. The Court’s argument: to protect members of the bench from harassment by hostile parties and litigants.
For another, the judiciary has so jealously guarded its purse and highly centralized disbursement of funds such that to
this day, the Commission on Audit has not published on its website the audit report on the Supreme Court for 2008. A full
three months after the April deadline, the report for 2009 has yet to be completed as well.
To be sure, Court officials say that there are several reasons for the delayed accounting of the judiciary’s budget
– booked at P14.5 billion in 2010, or 24 percent more than the P11.6 billion in 2009.
(This budget for the judiciary in the General Appropriations Act is apart from the P1.75 billion target collections in
2010 from various court filing fees that the Judiciary Development Fund Act – Presidential Decree No. 1949 passed in
1984 – authorizes the high court to spend on the cost of living allowances and special allowances of its personnel,
on top of their salaries.)
Whatever reasons there are, however, do not change the fact that when it comes to disclosure of information on two matters
– the personal wealth of the justices and judges, and the monies it spends to run the courts – the judiciary is
much less forthcoming than most agencies of the Executive branch or even the Senate.
Additional sections of this article cover: Deny, delay behavior; Balancing perils;
Real, potential conflicts; Companies & jurists; research findings and
the corresponding replies of some of the justices.
Click here to read full article http://pcij.org/stories/high-court-black-hole-in-transparency-drive/
Wheels of justice grind slow,
results, audit of funds slower
by Malou C. Mangahas - Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Last of Two Parts
NUMBERS – people, cases, funds – are a messy, maddening mix in the courts. The numbers defy all myth and romance
about the majesty and dread that literature ascribes to the men and women in robes, and indications are they pose a perpetual
challenge for the administrators of the country’s judicial system.
As a result, according to the Commission on Audit (COA), the task of auditing the courts, and prying open their books,
continues just as slowly as the wheels of justice grind in the country.
In large part, this means that there is no real gauge on just how effectively the judiciary is using the monies it receives.
For now, it certainly looks like a multibillion-peso budget has not helped the courts improve performance, based on their
By its own admission in its annual report, the judiciary’s case disposition rate has varied from a low of 22 percent
for the Sandiganbayan to a mere 32 percent for the lower courts, to a high of just 60 percent for the Supreme Court.
Remaining parts of ths article include: No. 9 budget rank; 1 judge: 52,077 Pinoys; Picture
not pretty; Discipline, penalties; ‘Value for money’; Need
to decentralize; Pay hike for judges; The SAJ gambit; CJ’s prerogatives
Click here to read the full article: http://pcij.org/stories/wheels-of-justice-grind-slow-results-audit-of-funds-slower/