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Lottery Corruption in Philippines Rampant; New Gambling Law Soon?

Senator Loren Legarda expressed regrets on Thursday that public perception on the extent of corruption in the public sector in the Philippines remains high. This sad commentary was contained in several surveys revealing that an overwhelming 77 percent of Filipinos believed that government efforts to curb corruption is ineffective and the 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking the Philippines 129th among 180 countries, Legarda said.

MALAYSIA STAR >>> MASSIVE OBSTACLES TO INVESTMENT: The Philippines is open for business, President Benigno Aquino promises, but corruption, poor governance and law enforcement remain massive obstacles to securing long-term investment that need to be confronted. The stakes are high. Failure would undermine his plans to halve the budget deficit to 2 percent of GDP over the next three years and to lure billions of dollars to upgrade dilapidated infrastructure that would help lift millions out of poverty.

Ombudsman not effective under Arroyo government, Solitor Geneneral tells high court

Anti Money Laundering Council of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to look into large transactions involving expensive artworks, jewelries and luxury items bought by individuals allegedly to launder jueteng money

Officials of six government agencies under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao have forged an agreement over the weekend with civil society groups in the region to promote transparency and accountability in their operations to help eliminate graft and corruption.

A retired general and a former lawmaker have asked the Supreme Court to allow the House of Representatives to proceed with the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who they accused of failing to act on the corruption and on human rights abuses allegedly committed during the Arroyo administration.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council said that it is working with Congress to further strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 to cover possible loopholes in the law amid news that criminal elements "found creative methods" of moving billions of funds.

Despite an order by the Supreme Court to suspend the impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, congressmen voted to pursue the case against her...

SENATOR ANGARA: Lawmakers should lead governmant transparency to earn public trust >>> Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called on parliamentarians to take a central role in the global fight against corruption, and engage the public in promoting transparency in government. According to Angara, corruption in government cannot be eliminated if the public is not aware of how government conducts business, especially in the procurement and disbursement procedures of daily government transactions. "With the help of media organizations, we must keep the public informed of all actions taken by government, be they transactions or policy making decisions. Transparency is the key,"

The government is taking a tougher stance on human trafficking, President Benigno "Noynoy"Aquino III said as he revealed that he is expecting the arrest of those engaged in the illegal activity "soon."...the US State Department said in its 2010 human trafficking report that "Widespread corruption and an inefficient judicial system continue to severely limit the prosecution of trafficking cases. The vast majority of initiated trafficking prosecutions are usually unsuccessful, largely due to lack of evidence after victims disappear or withdraw cooperation,"

SENATOR ANGARA: PROCUREMENT LAW IS KEY IN FIGHT VS CORRUPTION >>> "legislative frameworks in most countries of South East Asia already provide for laws and regulations that can be used to curb corruption. However, due to political circumstances, lack of public awareness and other reasons, such laws and regulations have either been ignored or under-implemented."

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Monday claimed its new guidelines for operating the Small Town Lottery will not only raise revenues from the state-run game of chance, it will also stamp out the illegal numbers racket "jueteng" that has dragged the Aquino administration into controversy...However, retired archbishop Oscar Cruz and Sandra Cam of the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng, told the committee that jueteng operators in the provinces were using the STL as a front for their racket.

A whistle blower of the illegal numbers game "jueteng" on Monday bared that several directors of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) received luxury vehicles from big time jueteng operators, who, at the same time, own franchises of the government-run small town lottery (STL) during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration.

RETIRED ARCHBISHOP OSCAR CRUZ: "I'm sorry to say, but jueteng flourished under the present administration."..."Jueteng flourished during the present administration, yes. Sorry to say....We're at a loss with this, but that's what we get from the ground. That's the basis of the report of Senator [Miriam Defensor] Santiago. I'm having my doubts about [Aquino's] 'daang matuwid.' [righteous path]. I entertain hope that some way somehow, somebody, somewhere will find daanang matuwid. And yet, I'm not that hopeful."

Philippine Father Eduardo "Eddie" Panlilio has alleged that a "conspiracy" between gambling lords and the police has prevented him from stopping an illegal gambling racket. "There was no way for me to stop jueteng... because there seems to be a conspiracy between the leadership of the Philippine National Police and the jueteng operators in Pampanga"...

Ex-Pampanga governor throws support for jueteng whistleblower retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz

PHILIPPINE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE "MOST DISAPPOINTING" - DROPS FROM 41% to 27%: A toothless regulatory environment, undermined in part by political agendas, has pushed Philippine companies to lag behind its Asian counterparts in terms of corporate governance. According to Corporate Governance Watch 2010 by Hong Kong-based brokerage firm CLSA, "the most disappointing market is the Philippines, which achieved what it has long threatened since we began this survey - last place, with its score dropping from 41% in 2007 to 27%." Available codes and securities laws, in fact, lag behind international and even regional best practices. The worst thing is that "regulators and companies seem unaware of the problem"... The Philippines' scores in all categories included in the study in fact fell, with the exception of the accounting and auditing principles... CLSA also took note of the "corporate governance culture," or the category that broadly looks at what companies, intermediaries, non-profit organization and the media are doing voluntarily to raise standards. It plunged to 25% from 36% in 2007, the lowest score among the other Asian countries. "Corruption levels appear to have risen, political interference has increased and, with toothless regulators expected to operate on shoestring budgets, it is perhaps not surprising that some large companies have felt little compunction in dismantling the pre-emption rights of their shareholders"

FINANCE SECRETARY: Corruption hard to fight

PINOYS URGE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION: Corruption, human rights violations, migrant concerns, and the President's personal life were the prime topics among the participants of Global Town Hall live-chat on Monday as part of President Benigno Aquino III's first visit to the United States as the country's chief executive. Majority of the Filipinos who participated in the chat want the new administration to focus on curbing corruption and to properly spend the US$434 million grant from the US Millennium Development Corporation (MCC) to the Philippines

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago claims receiving death threats over jueteng expose..."unidentified voices" told her to "take it easy on the operators and the Philippine National Police (PNP);" "present witnesses or shut up;" and that "she should resign or else"...other jueteng whistleblowers have also expressed fears for their lives: retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Sandra Cam...In late February this year, jueteng witness Wilfredo "Boy" Mayor was killed in an ambush in Pasay City.

 "We believe that you can unleash the human potential in a country like the Philippines by tearing down the barriers to economic growth and fighting corruption, which is like a cancer in the economy and society."
             -  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 


US MCC GRANTS $434 MILLION: The United States on Thursday granted the Philippines some $434 million to help it build roads and carry out other projects aimed at reducing poverty and fighting corruption. The money was awarded under the US-run Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) that helps developing countries reduce their levels of poverty as long as they meet performance criteria on the rule of law and democratic principles.

Extract from Remarks of His Excellency BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, At the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Signing Ceremony, September 23, 2010

"Each of the three (3) projects in the Compact has integrated several key components to combat corruption:

  • The Revenue Administration Reform Project or RARP (US$54.3 million) directly targets improvements in governance or “internal integrity” within the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
  • The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (“Linking Arms Against Poverty”)-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services or Kalahi-CIDSS (US$120 million) is designed to ensure that resources are provided to communities directly where they are needed most, and enforces transparency and accountability for local development investments.
  • The Secondary National Roads Project (222 kilometer road segment in Samar/Eastern Samar; US$214.4 million) introduces a number of checks on construction standards and road contractors.

These are the Compact projects that, in the words of MCC executives, demonstrates my country’s “high capacity” as MCC partner.

As I conveyed during my teleconference with Mr. Yohannes last August 9, we will do our part to use this grant wisely.

We will continue the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) or “lifestyle checks” program.

We will ensure that the Policy Improvement Process (PIP) Plan of Action will be implemented, in parallel with the Compact projects, to effectively address performance issues such as Control of Corruption (COC). We are currently refining our indicators for the Performance Governance System (PGS) which was already introduced in six (6) national government agencies (education, health, public works, transportation, internal revenue and the police)."

Extract from the Remarks of His Excellency  Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Philippines, At the Council on Foreign Relations, September 23, 2010

"I was put into office by the people, who believed in my idea that corruption is the root of poverty; that an end to corruption would mean an end to poverty. My government is ready to deliver on the second part of this pledge. We will channel any gains into the people—through social services like education, health, and conditional cash transfers that serve both as life-vests for the poorest of the poor, and incentives to ensure that they can move forward in life by getting educated and staying healthy. My government’s mantra: to guarantee a more equitable distribution of our nation’s resources.

This can only be achieved through stronger economic growth. Investments are needed in social services, but they are also necessary in infrastructure, utilities, and job-generating enterprises.

Given the scarce resources that we have, attracting foreign capital has become a vital component of my anti-poverty program. And I am here today to tell you that my government is doing what it takes to create a more investor-friendly environment.

Part of my mandate is to curb corruption and streamline a cumbersome, graft-ridden bureacracy; to put resources where they will provide the clearest results; and to untangle a complicated regulatory environment.

The mission I have set out for myself is to lead by example, rally our people, and unite them behind a common sense of purpose. It is imperative for us to work hand-in-glove and persevere in creating a just society for all.

I have laid out the tenets that will mark the new Philippines: good governance, employment generation, quality education, improved public health, and a home for every family, within safe communities.

Even as we exert our best to create jobs at home, the immediate reality is that  many of my compatriots continue to seek greener pastures abroad. This make them vulnerable to human traffickers and illegal recruiters.  We are thus doubling our efforts to bring the full force of the law against those who prey on the vulnerable.

We have committed to restore integrity in leadership and governance. We will battle corruption, cut red tape and exact the highest standards of performance from our bureaucracy.

The  government must earn the full trust and confidence of its citizens. This trust and confidence is the motive force that would get them actively  involved in building our nation. By empowering the people and  nurturing democratic participation, we can bring about real reforms.

Ladies and gentlemen, I came here to declare that the Philippines is open for business under new management."

Extract from speech by His Excellency BENIGNO S. AQUINO III at The Citibank Economic Conference, September 22, 2010

"I was elected to office on the promise to fight corruption and do better for the poor. I recognize that in order to do that the engines of commerce must be running at full throttle. Robust economic growth, fueled by the private sector, combined with thoughtful government spending on social services is the solution over the long term.

Let me be crystal clear: to achieve our social goals, it is imperative that we in the Philippines create a climate for private enterprise to profit and thrive. And this is what we have begun to undertake.

Earlier, our Secretary of Trade Gregory Domingo and Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima presented our economic and fiscal agenda, and outlined some of of the reforms we are putting on the table. These include, but are not limited to simplifying the process of establishing a business, improving infrastructure, and relaxing regulations on air travel to and from the country.

Allow me to illustrate what we are doing with two specific examples. The P1.645 trillion national budget that we proposed for 2011 puts in place the zero-budgeting scheme, which required a review of existing programs, termination of programs that no longer fulfill their intended outcomes, and a reduction in the funding for programs that needed to be redesigned. We have tightened restrictions on congressional pork barrel and reduced, if not removed, many opportunities for wasteful, and possibly corrupt spending practices. This has not necessarily endeared me with my former colleagues, but it has allowed us to increase spending on education, healthcare, and much needed emergency cash subsidies for the poorest of the poor, at the same time reducing our budget deficit as a proportion of GDP.

This kind of action is not dramatic enough to make it to the evening news, but I think you can appreciate how significant an investment of political capital it can be.

Now let me point you to an example that regularly makes the headlines back home. Our Bureau of Internal Revenue has breathed new life into its Run After Tax Evaders program and has already filed its 7th tax evasion case in just two months in an effort to plug revenue leaks. This early, the prospect of public humiliation and jail time has led to an improvement in our tax collection efforts."


FINANCIAL TIMES: Corruption and weak rules - not enough to shake investors' faith in the Philippines?

PHILIPPINES LAST IN ASIA IN CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, Asia's leading, independent brokerage and investment group, has released its Corporate Governance Watch 2010, the 8th survey of corporate governance in Asia since 2000. Produced in collaboration with the Asian Corporate Governance Association,the report examines 580 Asia-listed companies and 11 countries, including Japan, to produce the most comprehensive assessment of corporate governance performance, issues and trends in Asia...the country's absolute score for corporate governance fell 13 per cent, a result of reversals in governance culture, rules and enforcement. The report said: "The Philippines clearly went backwards over the past few years under the previous administration. Corruption levels appear to have risen, political interference has increased."...Among the country rankings, Singapore replaces Hong Kong at the top in 2010 while Thailand, Japan and Indonesia stand out this year as they were often seen as underperforming in the past. Malaysia and China also deserve merits whose scores rose by three and four percentage points. The Philippines, Indonesia and Korea are at the bottom of the market rankings, with The Philippines coming last.

PAF CAPTAIN DETAINED FOR EXPOSE OF CORRUPTION: A Philippine Air Force captain is allegedly being detained by the PAF after it discovered that he had written about the supposed corruption in the Air Force, his wife told Radyo Inquirer in an interview Friday. Cris Pogoy, wife of Captain Jonel...said her husband had been at the Villamor Air Base Detention Center for the last two years. Pogoy said that her husband had written about the "questionable repairs" of the C130 planes, the cannibalization of plane parts, and the violation of the "No fly, No pay policy", among others...Among the incidents of corruption cited by Captain Pogoy were: * The repair of one C130 plane that amounted to P300 million from its original budget of P100 million; * Violation of the No fly, No pay policy where almost 50 percent of the PAF pilots were paid even without assignments; * Cannibalization of plane parts; * Selling of plane fuel by officials

PAF SPOKESMAN:Air Force Captain in expose to be released Oct. 18

Presidential Anti-Graft Commission Closed Down along with nine other agencies

Government offices have not implemented nearly half of the Commission on Audit's (COA's) recommendations on improving their records and the prudent use of funds in 2009, the watchdog on accountability has disclosed.

CEBU FORUM: "Info bill to ensure accountability"

Palace names Edilberto Sandoval as new Sandiganbayan chief...The Sandiganbayan is the Philippines' anti-graft court that has jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases involving government officials... The Sandiganbayan presiding justice has a crucial role in the Aquino administration, which repeatedly vowed to weed out corrupt officials in government.

Aquino refuses to accept Puno resignation >>> President Benigno Aquino III said he would not accept the courtesy resignation of his shooting buddy, Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, until he was given a chance to prove his innocence. Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz told a Senate hearing that Puno was one of the people receiving P5 million to P8 million a month from the operators of the illegal numbers game jueteng.

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has ordered the arrival and departure cards in all the airports disposed of and changed - those left out of the 30 million printed - after seeing his beaming likeness as he filled out his departure card for San Francisco. Mr. Aquino disapproves of officials placing their pictures on streamers and billboards announcing their sponsorship of government projects, and on Thursday an Immigration official said Malacañang had ordered them to remove the cards bearing the President's smiling picture and to replace them immediately.

Fourth Division of Sandiganbayan directs Regional Trial Court of Davao to try former Rep. Nereus Acosta of Bukidnon and two others on alleged corrupt practices. Acosta's trial...stemmed on criminal complaints lodged by the Office of the Ombudsman last year. In the 2009 complaint submitted to the anti-graft court's fourth division...the mayor of Talakag, Bukidnon, and state auditors from the Commission on Audit accused Acosta for "acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence" when he used the town of Talakag as a "conduit" for the release of P2.5 million from his priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

GENERAL TO BE TRIED: The Supreme Court has green-lighted the Sandiganbayan's graft trial of retired Brig. Gen. Jose Ramiscal Jr. in connection with the allegedly irregular purchase of a 15,020-square-meter land in General Santos City by the Armed Forcess Retirement and Separation Benefits System during his watch as its president in 1997

Department of Justice acknowledges that the on-going revamp at Bureau of Immigration will receive intense resistance from individuals who benefited for years from the "corrupt and crooked" status quo.

WITNESS DESCRIBES BRIBE ORDERS: Former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. has given a substantial amount of money to several policemen and former government officials to cover up the investigation on the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last Nov. 23, 2009. During the continuation of his testimony today, Lakmodin Saliao said Ampatuan Sr. ordered to give P10 million to former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza to drop the rebellion raps against members of the Ampatuan clan. He also said that P10 million be given to Rainier Ebus, one of the suspects in the massacre, to retract his statement before authorities implicating the Ampatuans to the case. Ampatuan Sr.also ordered Saliao to hand over to Sukarno Dicay, ex-police chief of Ampatuan town, P10 million and P20 million Mike Midtimbang, Maguindanao board member, for taking care of them while inside Camp Panacan in Davao.

Bureau of Internal Revenue to go after jueteng lords for tax evasion

Businessman Antonio Cojuangco, President Benigno Aquino III's cousin and biggest campaign contributor, has admitted meeting with retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz over his claims of payoffs from the illegal numbers' game under the Aquino administration. Cojuangco also asked the media to stop reporting Cruz's list of alleged jueteng protectors because there was no evidence to back it up. In an unscheduled interview, Cojuangco denied asking Cruz to go easy on the administration. What he did do, he said, was express disappointment at Cruz's lack of evidence in coming up with the list of the alleged biggest protectors of the illegal numbers game under the present administration.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo is not tainted by jueteng money, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said...Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's exposé...was describing..."a framework by which the other administrations have gone through, jueteng operators have gone through," Lacierda said. "One thing is very clear, Jesse Robredo as head of DILG, does not condone jueteng..."

GHOST BUSTER COA: The Commission on Audit (COA) will refer to the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation and possible filing of charges the P5 billion worth of "ghost projects" funded by the road user's tax. Appearing at the budget hearing in the House of Representatives, COA chairman Reynaldo Villar said that about P5.4 billion in special road support fund was released, but there was no list of projects from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

GHOSTS AMONG US?: Lawmakers grill officials of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Commission on Audit (COA) on allegations road users' tax funded around P5 billion worth of ghost projects in 2009.

SENATOR SANTIAGO SAYS: Atong Ang No. 1 gambling lord...Ang said he was not involved in jueteng operations..."The equation DILG + PNP = Jueteng means that illegal jueteng consists of a conspiracy between the interior secretary and the police chief. They are the prime beneficiaries and ultimate protectors of jueteng," she said. "If we as a people do not rouse ourselves from our stupor, someday the Philippine president will be elected on the basis of who gets the biggest jueteng contribution"... Under the racketeers "political playbook," they follow closely the most likely winner in the election before committing their resources to secure the odds-on favorite candidates loyalty, according to the senator. "The jueteng lords then move to place their blushing man as DILG head who immediately gets his or her PNP chief to form the perfect formula for jueteng to flourish," she added. "This is managed corruption. And these two merchants of poverty operate with impunity until the next administration."

Aquino urged to fire police execs, suspend governors involved in 'jueteng'

JUETENG CASTS SHADOW ON ELECTIONS: It seems there is no stopping the resurgence of the illegal numbers game jueteng even as it threatens to affect even the results of the nationwide barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 25. Carol Jayne Lopez of the You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP) party-list group said her organization has received information that jueteng and other gambling rackets are expanding their operations as barangay officials succumb to the temptation of raising campaign funds for the upcoming polls. "We got reports that with the campaign funds reaching up to a million to ensure victory for a barangay captain running in an area of more than 40,000 people in Metro Manila and about P300,000 for each kagawad, there really is no option for some of the barangay candidates but to dip in the jueteng bucket," Lopez said in a statement.

ARCHBISHOP PERSONA NON GRATA?: Full-page newspaper ad scores bishop over jueteng claims

JUETILLIONS: P118.1 million a day is collected from 42 cities and provinces from seven regions in Luzon and Metro Manila says Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago...naming the top jueteng operators and protectors in the country and alleging that the illegal numbers game still flourishes due to the blessings of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). "The equation DILG plus PNP equals jueteng means that illegal jueteng consists of a conspiracy between the interior secretary and the police chief," Santiago said. The senator said the two top government officials are the "prime beneficiaries and ultimate protectors" of illegal numbers games.

ALTHOUGH ON SICK LEAVE SENATOR ACCUSES: The heads of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have allegedly been receiving at least P3 billion a year in jueteng money...

Good Governance vs. 'jueteng': Kaya Natin! leaders issued a statement calling for the complete eradication of jueteng in the country. Jueteng, according to the good governance advocates, can be used as a tool for corruption and deepens the poverty level of already poor families who spend what little they have to gamble...Unfortunately, efforts to curtail the game has been largely futile because of allegations that the Philippine police, in charge of eradicating jueteng, reportedly receive "protection money" from gambling lords to turn a blind eye to jueteng operations.

CAN'T BEAT IT, LEGALIZE IT!: House bill seeks to legalize jueteng, other numbers game

RETIRED ARCHBISHOP: New exposé coming if jueteng probe fails

A day before retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz dropped his bombshell at a Senate inquiry, jueteng operations had apparently stopped all of a sudden in the Ilocos Region, according to the regional police

RETIRED ARCHBISHOP FEARS FOR LIFE AFTER EXPOSE: After exposing the alleged links of high-profile officials to jueteng payoffs, a senior Catholic Church official now fears for his life. Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he is not discounting the possibility of reprisal from influential people he linked to the illegal numbers game...During his testimony at the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee earlier in the day, Cruz identified Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno and retired Philippine National Police chief Jesus Verzosa as among the officials supposedly receiving monthly jueteng payments. He also revealed 10 more names during the investigation on the illegal but popular numbers game lottery as jueteng lords, operators and beneficiaries of payola...Cruz said his group had already suffered big blows in giving information to the government so it could stop jueteng which corrupts public officials. He said one of them has already been killed...

Aquino to be told immediately about bishop's illegal gambling exposé

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS (BoC) sues officers of oil company for defrauding government around P700 million, administration's first oil smuggling case.

ACTIVISTS WARNING: The Philippine government last week authorized a Belgian dredging firm to proceed with the clean-up of the 94,000 hectare freshwater Laguna Lake south of Manila. Activists, however, said the project, which is estimated to cost 18.7 billion peso (US$423 million), aims to clear the area of about 450,000 poor households so it can be transformed into an industrial and commercial hub...The project, which is checkered with crimes of corruption, betrayal and environmental plunder and destruction will annihilate at least 400,000 people of the six million people of Laguna Lake, the group said.

Bishop bares Aquino kin request to take it easy on expose

Ex-police chief denies taking jueteng payoff

Ex-PNP chief, DILG exec named 'ultimate recipients' of 'jueteng' money >>> Illegal numbers game operators named again

GOV'T JUETENG: Twenty-nine out of the over 50 jueteng operators in the country are incumbent government officials, a television report said Monday quoting a confidential four-page report by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The list included seven governors, six congressmen, 16 mayors...

Department of Transportation and Communications orders review of computerization, license deals

Bold blows versus corruption, cautious steps versus poverty

Former town mayor of Albay asks Sandiganbayan to exonerate him from 17 counts of malversation of public funds.

A former Cabinet secretary of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and two police officers implicated in the Maguindanao "massacre" received P10 million each early this year from former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. a prosecution witness told a local court...

American businesses operating in the Philippines cite corruption as their top concern, eclipsing complaints about the current tax structure and the lack of infrastructure.

Customs bureau sues officers of oil firm over import fraud

No Fixers, No Corruption: Government Braces up to Improve Its Systems

Corruption Seen by Transparency International to "Slow Down" Attainment of Millennium Goals

JUETENG is an illegal numbers racket patronized by many Filipinos, mostly the poor. It is said that the Spanish colonizers introduced the game in the 1800's. By 1900's, it was controlled by migrant Chinese until the locals took over. To play jueteng, a bettor picks two digits between the numbers 1 and 37. For one's bet to win, the numbers should be drawn consecutively. A bet of P1 can win P800 depending on the number of bettors and location.

Aquino orders probe into bishop's "jueteng" pay-off allegations

Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto: ...some priests in the Archdiocese of San Fernando are "relatives, close friends and beneficiaries" of "jueteng" operators. "With this cultural situation, the [archdiocese] has issued a primer and two pastoral statements in support of the [Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines] guidelines on the morality of gambling," Aniceto said...In a pastoral statement in January 2005, the CBCP said that "in its illegal form, especially jueteng, gambling has bred a clandestine network of corruption that feeds itself on the hundreds of millions of pesos lost to gambling especially by the poor."

Members of the Whistleblowers' Associations of the Philippines have threatened not to participate in any investigation by the Truth Commission against the previous administration, unless the proposed Whistleblowers' Act is passed into law. An emotional Sandra Cam, who leads the group, and three other members, trooped to the Senate to express their disgust over the chamber's plan to hold an investigation on the resurgence of "jueteng" (illegal numbers game) in the country.


Fighting Corruption

Manila Bulletin - Saturday, September 25

A REPORT by the Transparency International reveals that corruption has greatly held back efforts towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Where there are more corrupt practices, there is less progress on education (MDG2), maternal health (MDG5), and access to clean water (MDG7). In the 2009 Corruption Perception Index, the Philippines ranked 139th out of 180 countries. The survey was topped by New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore as the countries with the least corruption. Our neighbors Thailand (84th), Indonesia (111th), and Malaysia (56th) have overtaken us. In the region, we only bested Timor-Leste (146th), Cambodia (158th), and Myanmar (178th). The fight against corruption is a continuous struggle and is not limited by borders or cultures. That is the rationale behind the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC). As the only Asian representative in GOPAC's Executive Board, I took the lead in organizing the regional chapter, the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians against Corruption (SEAPAC) in 2005. By linking with other parliaments, we build a strategy to combat corruption on an international level, while making a pact to fight corruption in each of our own governments and societies. Strengthening institutions and enhancing governance mechanisms must be hallmark of every democratic system. This is where we, as parliamentarians, have the best chance to contribute. Parliamentarians are in the best position to ensure institutional integrity. We achieve this by crafting effective sanction policies through the passage of laws. In this sense we plot, not just track, our national anti-corruption agendas. Of course, we should also go beyond merely crafting legislation. Our capacity to ensure institutional integrity requires that we monitor the implementation of these laws. This coming Thursday, September 30, GOPAC's Task Force on the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) will hold a two-day meeting in Manila. At the same time, SEAPAC will hold its Regional Meeting and discuss a plan of action for anti-corruption in the region. This is very much in tune with the Aquino administration's current flagship program of anti-corruption. High on the agenda is equipping lawmakers with tools to implement the UNCAC. The UNCAC, which the Philippines ratified in 2006, is the first international legally binding anti-corruption tool which obliges countries to implement changes in laws and institutions. Corruption is a real obstacle to development and directly affects our people. On the other hand, putting in place anti-corruption and good governance mechanisms - like transparency, accountability, and integrity - have huge payoffs. Elimintating corruption through oversight institutions and legal frameworks - and ensuring their effective enforcement - will aid economic growth and bring back public trust in institutions. - Senator Edgardo Angara

EDITORIAL - Beyond naming names

Dared to name names, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz did just that yesterday, identifying to the Senate several individuals tagged by his informants as recipients of jueteng payoffs. Cruz’s list included a cousin of President Aquino and former national police chief Jesus Verzosa. Most of those named were local government executives, and everyone denied the accusations.

Since the accusations were hurled by an archbishop, in a rare appearance before the Senate, the public is likely to believe the story; those implicated are deemed guilty until they can prove their innocence. But beyond condemnation in the court of public opinion, what comes next? Similar accusations in the past have led to a dead end.

Such accusations can make public officials think twice before accepting jueteng payoffs. But the accusations could also prompt some jueteng lords to increase their bribes to authorities as well as their “contributions” to other princes of the Church with no scruples about funding sources. The Catholic Church has admitted that some of its shepherds are recipients of jueteng largesse.

Thinking twice does not necessarily mean stopping the acceptance of payoffs. Over the years there have been periodic pauses in jueteng operations nationwide, usually when a new interior secretary or national police chief assumes office. But the illegal numbers game is so popular that operations always resume eventually.

Jueteng profits are so enormous the operators not only can afford to buy protection at every step of the criminal justice system but even become the officials tasked to stop illegal gambling. Several jueteng lords have successfully laundered their dirty money for political campaigns and won elective office. How can these officials be expected to crack down on their own lucrative family enterprises?

Neither the threat of arrest by the state nor the soul’s eternal damnation as threatened by the Church can stop Filipinos from gambling. This reality has prompted calls in recent years to legalize jueteng. Until this happens, however, authorities cannot abdicate their duty to conduct a sustained campaign against illegal gambling. Equally important, authorities must stop the corruption that is almost always bred by an illegal but popular activity.

If this task proves too difficult, the state should conduct lifestyle checks, starting with the most notorious jueteng operators, and then go after them for tax evasion and money laundering. Ill-gotten gains cannot all fit under the mattress and must be seized. Cripple the fat cat financiers and you cripple the illegal game. - (Philstar News Service,

* Keeping the scandal-prone (Undersecretary Rico E.) Puno in government after he has offered to resign (in his own strange way) is the President's call, of course. But when this fellow gets involved in yet another scandal - and the chances of that happening are better than even money - Aquino will only have himself to blame. * The Department of Transportation and Communications has finally suspended the controversial bidding for drivers licenses being pushed by the Land Transportation Office...Prospective bidders had earlier accused Torres agency of tailoring the requirements to favor one consortium, which includes the longtime provider of LTO...Each year, the government agency simply renews Amalgamateds contract without bidding it out...another onerous provision calls for any bidder to use security paper (not plastic) manufactured by a company that has experience in providing high-security banknotes and passports in the Philippines. That would limit the LTO's qualified bidders to only one supplier, Arjowiggins of France, which presently supplies paper for both the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Foreign Affairs. (From Business as Usual by JoJo A. Robles in the Manila Standard TodaY)

ON "ERADICATING" JUETENG: What those clamoring for the "eradication" of jueteng may not realize is that its technically already legal in this country. One can legally operate a betting-on-the-numbers game simply by getting a Small Town Lottery license. To be precise, therefore, what crusaders should want eradicated is the unlicensed version of the numbers game -- variously called jueteng, masiao, lotteng, etc. -- and the attendant corruption of police and local government officials involved in protecting this illegal racket. Allowing the operation of a numbers betting game (however it is called) is no longer a legal issue. Nor is it even a moral one. Our government -- by not only permitting but promoting lotto, casinos, horse racing, jai alai, sweepstakes, and the aforementioned STL -- has, for all intents and purposes, decided that our society should have no moral objections to gambling.

CORRUPTION SLOWS ACHIEVEMENT OF MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (Interview): What about corruption, and how is it slowing down the MDG progress? The reason why some developing countries do not make progress on MDGs is because their implementation is still very weak, thereby leaving room for slow performance. If this is allowed to happen, it will eventually defeat the purpose of the MDGs itself, and corruption does weaken implementation. Corrupt practices defeat the implementation of the MDGs because they ultimately not only usurp the necessary resources intended for development but also the determination to achieve the eight millenium development goals. When corruption enters the political scene, politicians become disoriented, causing them to lead development programs in a dysfunctional manner. Also, I think corruption has prevailed due to traditional politics. For instance, certain traditional politicians have to consider the electors that voted for them. As a consequence, they have to prioritize these voters and disregard others. In practice, this is unfair because no one should be deprived of their rights to attain the best quality of life.

"President Benigno S. Aquino must dig deep, labor meticulously, and select cautiously his team, and identify the virtuous and the honest from the corrupt and the shady, the competent from the free loaders, lest his watch will become a repeat of the Arroyo administration." - Hector R.R. Villanueva in Manila Bulletin

Philippine Institute of Development Studies counts economic cost of corruption

STATE-RUN Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) said the country loses about half a percentage of its economic output a year because of corruption. In a study titled, “Corruption and Development, Revisited,” Jenny Balboa and Shinji Takenaka said the cost of corruption in the Philippines is estimated at 0.5 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) per year, and at 5 percent of total investment.

GDP is the amount of final goods and services produced in the country.

The authors said their projection is “conservative” since it does not factor in other unobservable factors, and the reverse causality from rapid growth to corruption.

“Graft and corruption is considered to be one of the biggest threats to development,” the study said.

The authors said various efforts to combat this social ill have been explored, but the problem persists.

The study said private sector growth, particularly of small and medium enterprises, is also affected by corruption, taking the form of rigid regulations that increases tax burden and transaction costs for new entrants.

“The level of corruption in the Philippines, for instance, failed to show significant improvement despite decades-long struggle to curb corruption through various laws and policies. Deeply entrenched personalistic politics is an obstacle to reform efforts,” the study said.

It noted that the success of anti-corruption efforts largely rest on political will and commitment of stakeholders to uphold reforms.

Earlier, Transparency International reported that the Philippines ranked 141st out of 179 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2008.

Click here to download the full study (PDF,12 pp.)

TWO major anti-corruption bodies perform
below public expectations
Former congressman Satur Ocampo...lamented that the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court had failed the Filipino people in the fight to eliminate if not reduce corruption in public office...both instituions suffered from a backlog of cases, and in the case of the Sandiganbayan, it takes an average of seven years, or in some cases, 10 years, before the anti-graft court could decide on cases of paramount significance to the public. "Both the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan were overloaded with cases, including carry over cases. From 2001 to May 2006, the office of the Ombudsman received 78,700 criminal and administrative cases. While the office registered a high percentage of cases disposed, 65.4 percent of these cases had been dismissed"...during the same period, the Sandiganbayan entertained a total of 7,324 cases, and of this total, only 45 cases or less than 1 percent resulted in conviction, 51 cases led to acquittal, 1,700 were dismissed, 1,413 or 19.3% were archived and 3,909 or 53.4 percent were still pending for resolution as of 2006.

In a period of 27 years...the highest elective officials charged and convicted were two provincial governors, and small number of lower state officials that include 23 municipal and city mayors...of those 23 mayors, 18 were charged in 1979-2000 and found guilty in 2006. "All together, including one vice governor and one vice mayor, the total of elective officials convicted of grant and corruption, and for malversation, estafa, bribery and theft was 27 in 27 years"...the media exposing these cases of high level crime of corruption, like political activists, also suffered harassment and other forms of retaliation from the people and organizations they exposed for raiding public coffers...journalists engaged in investigative journalism with corruption as their subjects face libel cass, and worse, extrajudicial killings.

...while the Commission on Audit (COA), which is another constitutional body that could help in curbing corruption in public office is helpful in many congressional inquiries, the same office has not been of maximum help in checking corruption in the government...the summary of COA official duty is merely to counter-check, and compare if the government transactions proceeded to the flow and forms prescribed under the law.

"The system thus provides opportunities for unscrupolous government officials to engage in anomalous transactions but make it appear such transactions comply with the prescribed "flows and forms" like the controversial P 728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004, the most detailed investigative piece on corruption under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration"... the weaknesses of the judicial system in fighting corruption is deep rooted in the system and it is important the public realize that the judiciary's power to correct corruption is passive...

Click here to read full article

Swimming in rice: Alleged hefty commissions in rice importation and poor insight have left thousands of metric tons of rice rotting in NFA warehouses, unfortunately at the expense of taxpayers' money. JES AZNAR

Swimming in rice: Alleged hefty commissions in rice importation and poor insight have left thousands of metric tons of rice rotting in NFA warehouses, unfortunately at the expense of taxpayers' money. - JES AZNAR

During his first State of the Nation Address...President Benigno Aquino III spoke about the National Food Authority (NFA), the state-owned grains agency...How, Aquino wondered, could the NFA have incurred billions in debts and in effect wasted taxpayers’ money? Furthermore, Aquino asked why the NFA had to import so much rice or way beyond the country’s needs?

The answer is not so simple. The problem stems from poor economics and corruption in the system...if a foreign rice supplier sells rice to the Philippines, they can connive with NFA officials by shipping, say, lower quality rice or different from what was declared on paper. On paper, the supplier can declare that it has exported 1 million metric tons of rice that includes broken grain of 10 percent. In rice shipments, broken grain is usually included but is considered of inferior quality compared to the whole grain. In reality, however, the shipment of 1 million metric tons may include broken grain of up to 40 per cent. The seller will then give officials of the NFA “commissions” for the “savings” earned from such an arrangement, the rice trader told PPTRP.

Corruption is allegedly so rampant and innate in the system that even officials of the Bureau of Customs – who are supposed to inspect the goods – agree to the arrangement for a share in the commission...



Partner organizations in this website while it was actively publishing news excerpts:


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!
Management Association of the Philippines 
MAP is a management organization committed to promoting management excellence. The members of the MAP represent a cross-section of CEOs, COOs and other top executives from the top local and multinational companies operating in the country, including some top officials of government and the academe.

iPro supports the process of reducing corruption by seeking synergies between Government of the Republic of the Philippines agencies and civil society at all levels.

This website primarily serves to gather for research and educational purposes in one single place news and information specifically pertinent to integrity and corruption in the Philippines. The news items, views, editorials and opinions summarized or reported on this website are taken from the general media and reputable blogs, websites, etc., and are exclusively the responsibility of the original sources and/or authors. In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, any copyrighted work on this website is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit research and educational purposes only. Ref:
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