PHL's anti-corruption record hit a low under Arroyo
The 2010 Global Integrity Report branding the Philippines
as “very weak" in terms of governance and dealing with corruption [see article below] had only covered the last
year of the Arroyo administration, Malacaņang pointed out Thursday.
In an interview with Palace reporters, deputy presidential
spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified that the report covered the June 2009-June 2010 period.
Global Integrity, a Washington,
DC-based nonprofit organization, tracks governance and corruption trends around the world using local teams of researchers
and journalists to monitor openness and accountability.
“We were not here yet for the period that was assessed.
That was the last year of the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," she said.
Valte is hopeful
that Global Integrity’s next report would show an improvement on the country's anti-corruption rating after taking into
account the Aquino administration “doing everything to improve on [its] governance and [its] anti-corruption [drive]."
Rep. Edcel Lagman had used the 2010 Global Integrity Report to criticize the Aquino administration.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda released an online statement on the Official Gazette, pointing out that the legislator
was obviously unaware of the assessment period covered by the report.
Report: RP very weak in governance, fight vs corruption By Helen Flores The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines was rated “very
weak” in terms of governance and corruption in the 2010 Global Integrity Report released yesterday.
The overall Philippine classification in 2010 was
57 or “very weak,” a downgrade from the 2008 overall score of 71 or “moderate.”
The country was rated “weak” (64) in
the category “Anti-Corruption Legal Framework, Judicial Impartiality and Law Enforcement Professionalism” and
the “Rule of Law.” This included the sub-categories “Anti-Corruption Law” (89 or strong); “Anti-Corruption
Agency or Equivalent Mechanisms” (53 or very weak); “Judicial Independence, Fairness, and Citizen Access to Justice”
(62 or weak); “Law Enforcement: Conflicts of Interest Safeguards and Professionalism” (52 or very weak).
The country scored 53 (very weak) in the category
“Government conflicts of interest safeguard and checks and balances” (53 or very weak) but rated 71 or “moderate”
on “Budget Process Oversight and Transparency.”
Based in Washington D.C., Global Integrity is a leading
international non-profit organization that tracks governance and corruption trends around the world.
“While anti-corruption legislation is very
strong, the anti-corruption agency does not have the ability to effectively deliver on its remit,” the group said.
The latest Global Integrity Report also showed that
the Philippines is “very weak” in providing the public access to government information, scoring only 42 on a
scale of 0 to 100.
The Philippines obtained a rating of
57 (very weak) in the category “Government Oversight and Controls.” It included the followingsubcategories:
“National Ombudsman” (45 or very weak); “Supreme Audit Institution” (57 or very weak); “Taxes
and Customs: Fairness and Capacity” (50 or very weak); “Oversight of State-Owned Enterprises” (78 or Moderate);
and “Business Licensing and Regulation” (54 or very weak).
THE SUPREME COURT (SC) is considering to revise the Rules
of Court in a bid to hasten the justice system and decongest court dockets, Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima said yesterday.
Ms. de Lima, who met with Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad yesterday
to discuss proposals on the issue, said in a press conference that the high court is looking at "doing away with adversarial
type of proceedings."
The justice system adopts the adversarial court process, whereby
opposing parties reason out in court and the judge determines the truth.
This is in contrast to the inquisitorial system, whereby the judge
plays a prosecutor-like role during the trial.
"The adversarial type causes so much delay because there are too
many hearings. SC, with the Justice department, is looking at a combination of the adversarial and inquisitorial system,"
Ms. de Lima said.
Under the adversarial type, court hearings are set as deemed necessary
by the court, while the inquisitorial setup only has two hearings.
The preliminary hearing will focus on evidence and factual issues.
The second hearing will be adjudication.
Congestion of dockets, meanwhile, will be addressed if the court
will observe strict requirements before cases are filed in court.
Instead of probable cause, which Ms. de Lima says allows parties
to file cases even with insufficient evidence, the court will require clear and convincing evidence before case filing.
"This will pose bigger challenges to the prosecutor because they
will determine whether a case will be filed in court or not, but unlike the present practice, there will be more evidentiary
requirement," she said.
Prosecutors and judges, Ms. de Lima added, will have to undergo
training before the new system is implemented.
Column in BUSINESSWORLD – _26 April 2011
PCOS for ARMM Election?
A. Alcuaz, Jr.
The COMELEC Website has published only one resolution for the
the ARMM Election,.
i.e., Resolution 9144 on Voters Registration.
However, there are persistent media reports that COMELEC has already passed a resolution on automating the ARMM
election for P1 billion to P2 billion!
It is interesting that the CAC (Computer Advisory Council) had recommended that the Smartmatic machines should
not be bought. The CAC was at the time headed by CICT (Commission on Information and Communication Technologies) Chair Ray
Now it seems that the CAC, now headed by the new CICT Chair Atty. Ivan Uy, has reversed itself and recommended
the purchase of between 4,000 to 6,000 Smartmatic PCOS machines for the ARMM election.
Let us analyze this COMELEC decision.
In the 2010 national and local elections, there were 76,347 clustered precincts and COMELEC rented about 82,000
In ARMM, there were 3,379 clustered precincts! Why does the COMELEC want to buy 4,000, 5,000, or 6,000 PCOS
machines for the ARMM 2011 election?
If Chairman Brillates were not a devotee of St. Benedict, I would suspect that some people in COMELEC want to
maximize their commissions!
One story that we have heard is that COMELEC thinks that ARMM has 4,000 clustered precincts but they will buy
6,000 machines. The 2000 extra machines will be back-up!
This is absurd, 50% back-up! If the machine is that unreliable, don’t buy it!
Another justification is that COMELEC had savings of P2.1 billion from the 2010 budget. This again is shameful
Having savings is never an excuse to throw away money.
In reality, there is no need for even a single PCOS machine for the ARMM election.
The 2011 ARMM Election does not need automated precinct counting. There is a needfor electronic transmission and canvassing.
There are only three positions in each ballot and probably a total of six
to twelve candidates to tabulate votes for.
Manual counting is going to be fast enough, more transparent, and more
Something that can be done in less than an hour per 200 ballots.
In the last National and Local Elections, there were about 20 to 30 positions
to vote for and more than 200 candidates to tally. That could really take a long time to do manually.
The COMELEC’s insistence on automating the ARMM election using Smartmatic
machines should be viewed with suspicion.
Ideally, there should be a thorough analysis of the different alternatives
for automating future elections.
The purchase of 6,000 Smartmatic machines for the ARMM election is not
only a waste of money this year, it may pre-empt a wise and unbiased choice for the future.
It looks like Smartmatic and some COMELEC insiders are making sure that
they will make money in 2011 and again corner a huge contract for the 2013 national and local elections.
Where is “ kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap?”
(The article reflects the
personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines.The author is President of Systems Sciences Consult, Inc. and member of the MAP National
Issues Committee. Feedback at email@example.com. For previous articles, please click
We in the MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (MAP) requests the Office
of the President to appoint immediately a highly-qualified Ombudsman with proven honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability
and good governance, and with unquestionable good moral character so that the government can finally use the Office of the
Ombudsman as a management tool in eradicating corruption in government.Corruption
continues to be one of the biggest impediments to economic growth and prosperity in the country, and it has been eroding the
moral fiber of the nation.
The selection of the next Ombudsman is highly critical in regaining the independence
and effectiveness of the Office of the Ombudsman in discharging its vast powers like making public officials accountable for
their actions, investigating and prosecuting erring officials and meting out administrative penalties, and recommending policies
that will eliminate government inefficiency and corruption.
With the Office of the Ombudsman being the real protector of the people,
and not of the few, P-Noy can finally transform his “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” battlecry into reality.
We urge the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to bring out to the fore the background
and qualifications of each candidate being considered to encourage greater public participation in the scrutiny, evaluation
and selection of the new Ombudsman.
The resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez gives the government a
prime opportunity to move forward with greater speed, and the resolution of the charges can serve as a strong signal and clear
example of P-Noy’s non-negotiable, anti-corruption drive.
For a more proactive anti-corruption vehicle, we encourage the Aquino Administration
to certify the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law as urgent and for Congress to immediately enact the FOI Law which will give
the access to information heretofore hidden from public scrutiny, and provide the necessary protection for truth-tellers and
MAY IS "ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPTION AWARENESS MONTH"
PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT NO. 591 DECLARING THE MONTH OF MAY OF EVERY YEAR AS "ANTI-GRAFT
AND CORRUPTION AWARENESS MONTH" (Sgd.) GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
The 2011 corruption index by Political-Economic Risk
Consultancy Ltd. (Hong Kong) was a red flag. Sleaze in the Philippines had worsened since 2010, among 16 Asian economies.
On a scale of one to 10, with 10 as worst, the country scored 8.9 percent, poorer than the previous 8.25. The Philippines
retained its third-most corrupt slot only because the ratings of Cambodia (9.27 from 8.3) and Indonesia (9.25 from 9.07) slipped
too. (Source: BusinessWorld)...
Came another red flag, the 2010 report by Global
Integrity (Washington) with some parallelisms with PERC’s corruption ratings. With the highest score this time at 100,
the Philippines rated 57 “weak” in terms of government and anti-corruption. This was a big drop from
71, “moderate”, in 2008.
With anti-corruption laws rated strong at 89, anti-graft
agencies were ineffectively very weak at 53. Judicial independence and citizen access to justice rated weak, 62. Law enforcement
conflicts-of-interest safeguards and professionalism scored very weak, 52. Budgeting oversight and transparency was moderate,
71; but government conflicts-of-interest safeguards and checks and balances were very weak, 53. So overall the anti-corruption
legal framework, judicial impartiality, law enforcement professionalism, and rule of law was weak, at 64.
Other fields measured: public access to government
information, very weak at 42; national ombudsman, very weak at 45; supreme audit institution, very weak at 57; taxes and Customs
fairness and capacity, very weak at 50, oversight of state-owned enterprises, moderate at 78; and business licensing and regulation,
very weak at 54. Overall, government oversight and controls rated very weak, at 57.
Public administration and professionalism scored
moderate, 71. It was pulled down by a very weak score of 58 in civil service conflicts-of-interest safeguards and political
The latest Social Weather Stations performance polls
can be read partly as people’s reactions to corruption. The net satisfaction rating of the Aquino administration dropped
18 points to 46 percent in early March, from a record high 64 percent the previous quarter. Sixty-five percent of 1,200 respondents
expressed satisfaction, while 18 percent were dissatisfied, and 16 percent undecided. (Source: BusinessWorld)
The admin also got a net rating of 14 percent in
eradicating graft. The SWS classified this as “moderate”.
The Philippine Public Transparency
Reporting Project and website aim to put under the public spotlight important issues such as control and management
of the nation’s public wealth (click below to read full articles)
TACKLING CORRUPTION IN THE PHILIPPINES AN OUTSIDER'S EXPERT VIEW
Corruption has absolutely nothing to do with culture and everything to do with political and
Those who point to traditions and history are simply making the poorest of excuses and are in
basic denial by simply refusing to accept personal and collective responsibility for the state they are in.
So says one of the world’s leading anti-corruption experts -- Tony Kwok, who spoke at
a public forum on Friday at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. As proof, the former Deputy Head of the Independent
Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong pointed to the overarching Chinese culture and Confucian traditions in his
home town which transformed itself from being one of the most corrupt societies to one of the cleanest.
“We love money and wealth creation and the family to us is everything – but the
secret is zero tolerance for corruption.”
The charismatic Kwok took delight in challenging those in the audience who imagined it would
take decades for the Philippines to rid itself of the legacy of generations of graft.
In Hong Kong, he reminded people, it took just three years...
...as Kwok reminded and showed his audience in Quezon City on Friday through graphs and charts
citing reliable public opinion surveys, “all presidents of the Philippines enjoy high confidence about combating corruption
at the beginning.”
The election of the past four presidents (since the period of Cory Aquino) provided a “golden
opportunity” when public confidence was high. But in each case, confidence subsequently collapsed. Public confidence
and political credibility, he said was one of several key factors in ensuring a successful anti-corruption strategy and result.
Political will is crucial, he insisted. “All Philippine presidents have made statements
and promises about corruption, but the follow-through has been missing.”
He indicated that it was crucial for administrations to move behind the hyperbole and turn statements
and promises into action. The Philippines he said enjoys some of the strongest and best laws against corruption – and
yet it fell down on implementation. The Philippine law on public procurement was a perfect case in point: It was one of the
best laws in the world.
And yet, Kwok said: “System and laws are not enough – it is all about enforcement.”
He demonstrated that while many South East Asian countries had their own statutory anti-corruption
commissions and groups, many fell down and have proved failures when it came to implementation.
Such failures, Kwok argued, were down to such things as a lack of resources; lack of independence;
the wrong strategy; inadequate laws; inadequate jurisdiction; lack of credibility and support; lack of any coalition of support;
a corrupt judiciary; a lack of professional staff and a lack of public accountability and political will.
He pointed out that here in the Philippines it took on average 12 years for a corruption case
to be decided in court.
And one of his recommendations for the Philippines was for an overall plan that would allow
the judiciary to solve up to 90 per cent of corruption allegations and cases within 12 months...
And while many need no convincing, Kwok also made a very clear case linking economic performance
“If you want economic growth you really need to fight corruption. Foreign investment is
simply not comfortable going into countries where there is high corruption. When it comes to foreign investment, Hong Kong
is very popular and the Philippines far less so. Why? Simply there is no level playing field here and foreign investment needs
a level playing field. The first aspect to that is the [public] budget. If you have a good control on corruption, you have
good control and input into the budget. In the Philippines you have 20-30 per cent of the public budget lost to corruption.
In Hong Kong that money goes to things like public housing – the benefits are clearly obvious.”
Hong Kong graftbuster: Ombudsman
needs more powers
gives the ombudsman the job of fighting corruption but not the tools to so, an anti-corruption expert from Hong Kong said
at a forum at Ateneo de Manila University, former Independent Commission on Anti-Corruption Tony Kwok Man-wai said the Office
of the Ombudsman has too little power, too few investigators, and not enough money.
consultant also said that the Office of the Ombudsman "has no ammunition" to fight corruption because it does not even have
He said the
ombudsman must be given the power not only to arrest corrupt public servants, but also check their bank accounts, tap their
telephones, and conduct surveillance operations without the suspect's knowledge.
is a haven for corrupt officials. They know their bank accounts cannot be checked. They know their homes cannot be searched.
Nobody will listen to their phone calls, except if they are President," Kwok said.
He said that
because the suspect's consent is not needed, there are few opportunities for a cover up or for political interference.
He added the most important factor in fighting corruption is political will from the President.
Kwok said political will can be measured
by how much money is being used to support the drive against corruption, how strongly anti-corruption laws are being pushed,
the lack of political interference in cases, and the existence of a zero-tolerance policy.
He said, however, that fighting corruption
is not just the President's or the ombudsman's job, but of all government employees.
Freidrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty
Philippines on the Right Track in Fighting Corruption
Former Commissioner and Head of Operations of HK-ICAC Tony Kwok
Anti-corruption expert Tony Kwok, who was also an investigator at the Office of the Ombudsman during
the tenure of Simeon Marcelo, said that the Philippines is on the right track in its fight against corruption and is doing
better than other countries in Asia.
The Former Commissioner and Head of Operations of Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (HK-ICAC) presented the survey results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) on the General Performance of the National Administration from March 4-7, 2011. Kwok noted that President Benigno Aquino’s rating initial rating of 20+
in the area of eradicating graft and corruption was unprecedented, and that it is still high but declining. In the SWS survey,
the rating is now 14+. He attributed this to public perception, more than as the result of actual actions of the government.
"Perception is crucial," he would emphasize several times.
Kwok said that there is nothing unique about corruption
in the Philippines. He narrated how Hong Kong was very corrupt in the 1970s, where corruption was blatant and even syndicated.
“Many believe that it would need a decade to eradicate corruption when it has become embedded in the society. That is
false. Hong Kong was able to do it in three years,” expressed Kwok. Kwok suggested a three-pronged approach to corruption:
education, prevention, and deterrence. He underscored that these three are equally important to fight corruption. More so,
there should be political will to enforce a system that has a zero-tolerance to corrupt practices. “The people should
at least have the perception that their government is serious about fighting corruption, that is already half the success.
But of course, we have to work on all levels, in all sectors to fully address corruption. The goal is to have an ethical society
that does not operate on double standards,” Kwok stressed.
Kwok is in Manila for consultation meetings. He was invited to give a lecture on Corruption in
the Philippines: What went wrong? What can we do now? by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). Kwok’s visit is timely as the Philippines welcomes the resignation of Ombudsman Merciditas
Gutierrez whose leadership at the Office of the Ombudsman was marred by partiality. Corruption cases that involved President
Gloria Arroyo, her family, and cabinet were purposely docked for years.
The data gathered by Kwok showed that there
are 1.8 million civil servants in the Philippines and only 200 state prosecutors. This gives a ratio of 1:9000. The number
of prosecutors already increased from the time Kwok was a consultant at the Office of the Ombudsman. There were only 37 prosecutors
then, and their conviction rate was merely 14%. Kwok advocated for budget increase for anti-corruption agencies that would
contribute in the professionalization of their staff.
Prof. Winnie Monsod and Transparency and Accountability Network Executive Director Vince Lazatin
Prof. Winnie Monsod, who was a reactor at the lecture, challenged the audience to take advantage of
the opportunity that the Philippines has now to fight corruption. “The public is already outraged by the corruption
issues that have been hounding the country for years. We have a committed leader who is perceived as clean. The combination
of these equals a perfect timing for an anti-corruption campaign,” expressed Monsod.
“Ever since President
Aquino declared that there will be no wangwang (VIP car sirens), people’s tolerance to it has decreased. When
before it was normal to hear it, now it has become of an exception. This means that we can also quickly change the attitude
towards corruption,” encouraged Transparency and Accountability Network Executive Director Vince Lazatin, who was also at the forum as a reactor.
The lecture is part
of the year-long 25th anniversary celebrations of PCGG. An exhibit entitled Excesses, Recoveries, and Good Government kicked off the programs. Kwok’s lecture is the first in the Haydee
Yorac Lecture Series organized by PCGG and supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF). Haidee Yorac was
the 11th head of the Office of the Ombudsman and a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Public Service. “The Aquino Administration
had already gone about moving the goalposts on good governance. We hope that this lecture series would encourage not only
discussions, but concrete actions in the fight against corruption,” said FNF Philippines Country Director Jules Maaten.
Ombudsman needs more powers, bigger
By PURPLE ROMERO - May 8, 2011
should support anticorruption efforts too, says expert
President Aquino can always appoint a credible and efficient Ombudsman, but his effort will only
bear fruit with the help of Congress and the judiciary, among others.
Kwok, former head of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission on Anti-Corruption
(ICAC), told a forum Friday that under the present set-up, the Ombudsman wouldn’t be able to do much in catching corrupt
officials due to its limited powers.
“It cannot arrest, it cannot wiretap calls,” he said.
Kwok said Congress should grant the Ombudsman more powers to investigate. Republic Act no. 6770,
which creates the Office of the Ombudsman, gives the anti-graft office prosecutorial and investigative powers, but the most
that it could access are bank records.
Kwok said both houses of Congress should work toward passing an “anti-corruption friendly
law,” which would enable the Office of the Ombusman to do the following:
a. demand for information
b. arrest and detain suspects
d. restrain property
e. order a surrender of travel documents
f. conduct surveillance and undercover operations
g. intercept phone calls...
Aside from more money and more powers, the Ombudsman also needs a stronger judiciary to make its
anticorruption efforts effective. “The judiciary is highly inefficient. It takes the courts 6.6 years to conclude a
case. It’s one for the Guinness of Records,” he said...
But most important perhaps is the need for the executive branch to respect the independence
of the Ombudsman. Kwok lamented that the agency “is sometimes used as a political tool.”..
Kwok said President Aquino should appoint “a person with a mission,” and that
this mission should include catching “the big fish.”...
But he noted improvements over the years, such as the signing of a memorandum of understanding
on the Solana Covenant between the Commission on Audit, the Civil Service Commission and the Ombudsman in 2004.
The Solana covenant is a joint anticorruption plan that lists the following objectives:
the establishment of a database for the statement of
assets, liabilities and net worth
of public officials and the monitoring of unliquidated cash advances, among others.
...one of the suggestions made by international
anticorruption expert Tony Kwok in a lecture on corruption given at the University of the East...Using this strategy, Kwok,
former operations chief of the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), said he was able to help oversee
a significant decrease in overt corruption in the Chinese region within three years.
"When fighting corruption, we're fighting
against public perception. When people believe the fight is genuine, they will start refusing to pay bribes," and start publicly
reporting corruption instead of taking it as "an accepted way of life," he said.
Partner organizations in this website while it was
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Ehem -- the anti-corruption initiative
of the Philippine Jesuits echoes the urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines. Ehem
aims at bringing people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately
to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own uncritiqued, often unwitting practice
of corruption in daily life. Ehem hopes to bring people, in the end, to a commitment to live the way of Ehemplo --- critical
of corruption, intent on integrity!
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