Integrity Philippines --------Pinoy Solutions to Corruption

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This is a web news agregator website. It publishes headlines and short extracts about corruption from the media in one place. To read the full original article at its source click on the underlined text below. The searcher at the bottom can seek any key word(s) from news excerpts since June, 2010. 



President Aquino’s speech at the 1st Integrity Summit, September 14, 2011

Imagine how much money has been lost over the yearstaxes that could have gone to social services, infrastructure, debt reduction, or national defense. In the past, perhaps you could have justified not paying taxes by saying it would have been used to fatten the wallets of corrupt officials. But as we strive to show you that this is no longer the case, I hope we can urge our fellow citizens to pay their share of taxes. As we continue fixing what is wrong with government, I urge you to stand alongside us and do your part. This will not be easy, but if we work on it -- if we choose not to shirk our responsibilities as individualsthen everybody will get the message and act fast and accordingly. (Click to read full speech)

Number of convicted public servants up by 5,300% in 2010

The number of former government workers imprisoned reached 2,053 in 2010, the year President Aquino assumed the presidency, up from just 38 in 2009, the last full year of the Arroyo presidency, according to new figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). NCSB secretary-general Dr. Romulo Virola said these erring government officials and employees are serving sentences for malfeasance, bribery, fraud, malversation of public funds or property, infidelity, and other offenses like usurpation of powers, unlawful appointments, and abuses against chastity... Jails nationwide housed 59,289 inmates as of end-2010. Meanwhile, convicts in national penitentiaries reached 35,937, according to the NSCB...NCSB secretary-general Dr. Romulo Virola said, "Noticeable were the huge increases in the number of prisoners convicted of crimes committed by public officers from 38 in 2009 to 2,053 in 2010"... Citing the amount of taxpayers money used to operate prisons and jails and detain inmates and rehabilitate those convicted of crimes, Virola said "the government is paying a high price for the very slow judicial processes in the country."

Aquino to showcase improved integrity in governance during U.S. visit

"Next week, I will be in the United States for some very important meetings. I was invited by President (Barack) Obama, among others, to talk about Open Governance; and I will be proud to tell him, as well as the representatives of several other countries, how in the Philippines, the effort for integrity in governance - the effort for creating a transparent relationship between the people and their government - is one that is shared by the government and the private sector," Aquino said. Aquino Wednesday keynoted the first Integrity Summit at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, wherein he was presented the Unified Code of Conduct for Business, in which hundreds of companies have signed the Integrity Pledge

PRESIDENT TO VISIT USA SEPT. 18 - 23: The visit aims to enhance the country's strategic profile by underscoring the Aquino government's demonstrated commitment to its good governance and anti-corruption agenda, and to increase awareness about the government's domestic and foreign policy thrusts...President Aquino was invited to the official launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in New York on September 20. The OGP is a new multilateral initiative to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance...The selection of the Philippines as a Steering Committee member is an international acknowledgement of the Aquino administration's demonstrated commitment to and innovative practices in open governance and anti-corruption. President Aquino will also deliver the keynote remarks at an OGP-related forum titled "The Power of Open: A Global Discussion." He is the only head of state invited to address the opening ceremony of this all-day multistakeholder, ministerial-level conversation focused on the role of openness in improving responsiveness, fostering accountability, creating efficiency, fighting corruption, and similar themes...World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick invited the President to deliver a public lecture during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C. President Aquino's lecture will center on the theme of citizen empowerment, good governance and fighting corruption as agents of poverty reduction before an audience composed of finance ministers, central bankers and country representatives.

INTEGRITY SUMMIT >>> CORRUPTON KEEPS PHL ECONOMY FROM GROWING, BUSINESS LEADERS SAY: Widespread corruption, not only in government but also in the business sector, is a stumbling block that keeps the economy from growing, business leaders and analysts said at the 1st Integrity Summit Wednesday. In particular, small and medium businesses (SMB) suffer the repercussions of corruption practiced by large enterprises and make them unable to compete, said World Bank governance specialist Joel Turkewitz.

EX-JUDGE:  "Arroyo chopper" used to transport bribe money

One of the choppers previously owned by the former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was used to fly a former Islamic court judge to different places in Mindanao to ensure the victory of his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in the 2004 elections. Nagamura Moner, a former Shari'a court judge, revealed this on Tuesday during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigation on the Philippine National Polices (PNP) purchase of choppers previously owned allegedly by the former First Gentleman. Moner told senators he received a call from former Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Alfonso Cusi on May 13, 2004 - or three days after the elections - asking him to go to certain places in Mindanao where Arroyo was losing against Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) in the municipal canvassing. He said Cusi instructed him to find change election results in favor of Mrs. Arroyo. "The instruction was to find contacts with the election officers [and] pay them off if necessary just to make Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo win on those areas," Moner said.

Failure of e-District plan drives costs up by P262m

The failure of congressional leaders to carry out the e-District project will cost taxpayers P262 million in communication expenses for the House of Representatives this year and next, documents show. The e-District project, which started during the 14th Congress, was supposed to be completed during the current Congress, but an Internet telephony system that was part of the P71.6-million projectmost of which has been fully paidwas never set up by the supplier, Advance Solutions Inc.

COA: P250-million lighthouse parts rotting at DOTC

Because of excessive procurement, spare parts worth more than P250 million for lighthouses of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) have remained unused for over a year now. The Commission on Audit (COA) said the money used for the purchase of the equipment, which lay idle in a stockroom of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), could have been utilized for urgent needs of the government. "Although some boxes are in the DOTC stockroom, which allegedly contain lighthouse spare parts, it is however not certain that the contents thereof are the exact items and quantity recorded in the books unless a detailed physical count is conducted," state auditors said. COA questioned the excessive procurement of lighthouse spare parts considering that the PCG is actually refusing to accept the same because they still have at least a year's supply in their own stockroom

Palace downplays "warnings" vs removing witnesses from protection program: Malacañang over the weekend downplayed reported warnings by an anti-crime group that removing some witnesses from the government's witness protection program may discourage witnesses from blowing the whistle on crimes and cases of corruption. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government has already expanded the witness protection program to include whistleblowers against graft cases...Valte was replying to reported calls by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption to go slow in removing witnesses like former police Superintendent Cezar Mancao II and Mary Rosebud" Ong from the witness protection program.

BISHOP CRUZ: NEW PNP CHIEF'S HANDS ARE TIED AGAINST "JUETENG": The nemesis of gambling lords, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, on Friday said he would go easy on new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Nicanor Bartolome as far as "jueteng" was concerned. Cruz said he wasn't expecting the illegal numbers racket to be stamped out under the new PNP leadership since neither of Bartolome's superiors...were against it... Cruz last year submitted to the Senate a list of supposed top beneficiaries of jueteng money

COA questions officials' foreign travel expenses

The Commission on Audit (CoA) has scolded the Department of Tourism (DoT) for shouldering the foreign travel expenses of congressmen and senators, saying that the expenditures appear to be unnecessary. CoA questioned the propriety of the DoT policy to shoulder the expenses of legislators who were included in the agency's delegation sent to various foreign missions from February 24 to July 5, 2010. In the 2010 annual audit report prepared by state auditors, CoA disclosed that the DoT spent nearly P5 million for the travel expenses to ten exhibits, and fairs in various countries. Of the said amount, P1,900,795.03 was spent on air fares and P3,097,874.71 went to daily subsistence allowances. Auditors said 46 congressmen and five senators attended various tourism-related events merely as observers.

SOLON ACCUSES SHELL OF SMUGGLING, CALLS FOR INQUIRY: A congresswoman today accused Pilipinas Shell of "unabated smuggling activities" and tax evasion. Zambales Rep. Maria Milagros Magsaysay made the accusation as she urged the House of Representatives' committee on ways and means to investigate the oil company... Magsaysay said the government stands to lose several billions of pesos in uncollected taxes, and these indicate that certain government officials may have given undue advantage to smugglers.

HOUSE GAVE OVERPRICED LAPTOPS TO CONGRESSMEN: Notebook computers that should have cost P24,000 each came out to P150,000 apiece in unfinished P75-million E-District deal Five hundred laptops that Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. handed out to 250 congressmen last Christmas cost taxpayers P75 million, or P150,000 per unit, documents obtained by the Manila Standard Wednesday showed...The HP laptops were part of the E-District project initiated during the previous Congress and were supposed to allow districts to call and communicate with their representatives in the House for free through the Internet as a way of saving on communications costs. But the House under Belmonte did not carry out the VOIP portion of the deal, leaving lawmakers with "overpriced" notebooks that should have cost less than P30,000 each.

LAPTOPS FOR LAWMAKERS DEFENDED: House accounts committee chairman denied there was anything wrong in the distribution of laptop computers to congressmen. He also maintained there was nothing overpriced and that everything was in order with regard to the laptops. He said the laptops were purchased by the 14th Congress in 2009, acquired in February 2010, and distributed last December 2010. He stressed the transaction underwent and hurdled auditing procedures.

FROM GULF NEWS DUBAI: Pesos-for-papers con >>> Filipinos say they feel helpless against extortionist gangs allegedly working hand in glove with airport officials back home...a Filipina nurse shelled out 25,000 pesos to agents of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Ninoy Aquino International Airport so she could fly back to Dubai on a visit visa. Money changed hands outside the airport and she was told to join a queue at a passport counter whose staff did not ask her any questions...All passengers on visit visas from Manila to Dubai who boarded the Cathay Pacific flight at 6pm that day via Hong Kong paid grease money, she said.

SIXTH PLUNDER COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST EX-PRESIDENT: Another plunder complaint was filed on Thursday against former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, this time for the botched national broadband network (NBN) deal with China's ZTE Corp. that the Philippine government entered into during her administration. Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño, Bayan chairperson Carol Araullo, and former Gabriela women's party-list Rep. Lisa Maza filed the case before the Office of the Ombudsman...This is the sixth plunder complaint against Mrs. Arroyo since she left the presidency in June 2010. It is also the second time the former president was slapped with plunder raps under new Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. Mrs. Arroyo's legal spokesperson, dismissed the plunder complaint as another act of "persecution" towards the former President, insisting that his client never benefited from the deal.

EX-FIRST GENTLEMAN: WHAT PLUNDER? >>> "We are being accused of plunder in the ZTE contract but the public should be reminded that it was cancelled by the former President before it could be implemented. Since it was cancelled, there was no injury to the government. There was also no personal gain whatsoever. So where is plunder there? "

Ombudsman Carpio-Morales readying 7-year roadmap vs graft, corruption

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales will present this month a roadmap setting the anti-graft agency's programs and policies that would help fight graft and corruption in government for the next seven years. Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan, the Ombudsman's spokesman, said Morales, a retired Supreme Court associate justice, would finally reveal her plans by the end of the month. Rafanan said...Morales called for a review of all existing programs and policies at the Office of the Ombudsman during her first two months in office. He said strategic planning workshops, meetings, briefings, and consultations have been conducted in the past weeks to formulate concrete plans, which would determine how the fight against graft and corruption will be carried out.

INTEGRITY INITIATIVE GAINS GROUND: AQUINO SCHEDULED TO SIGN UP >>> Nearly 650 private firms and business groups have signed up for the Integrity Pledge initiative, giving the private sector-led campaign a large pool of participants for a certification system aimed at curbing corruption...As part of the initiative, the First Integrity Summit has been scheduled for Sept. 14 at the Mariott Hotel in Manila. Mr. Aquino is expected to add his signature during the event, which has the theme "Cultivating a Culture of Integrity"

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has agreed to share portions of her pork barrel funds with her colleagues in the opposition bloc who have yet to receive their congressional allocations since the 15th Congress opened last year...some opposition lawmakers are now "succumbing to the pressure tactics of Malacañang" to withhold their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to further decimate the ranks of the 30-member minority bloc.

SENATOR DEFENDS PNP FILING OF PLUNDER RAPS ON CHOPPERS DEAL: Senator Antonio Trillanes IV came to the defense of the Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), which has been criticized for its "shotgun approach" in the filing of criminal complaints against the players in the anomalous purchase of helicopters in 2009. "CIDG, through Director [Samuel] Pagdilao, did the right thing in filing a plunder case against Mike Arroyo and other police officials involved in the anomalous sale of two-pre-owned helicopters in 2009," Trillanes said in a statement

"PLUNDER COPS" STAY IN POSTS: Active police officials charged with plunder stemming from the controversial purchase of second-hand helicopters will remain in their posts while awaiting action of the Office of the Ombudsman on the case. While he has the power to recommend the relief of those charged, Director General Raul Bacalzo, outgoing chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said he opted to wait for the action of the Ombudsman in connection with the case filed last week against the police officers.


SOLON: GMA HAD P488 BILLION IN PORK >>> Rep. Neri Colmenares of the party-list group Bayan Muna claimed yesterday that former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo saved a total of P488 billion during her nine-year rule and converted the funds into her "personal pork barrel." Colmenares said he arrived at the figure by going over the Arroyo budgets and the amounts of savings agencies reported. "The total amount of supposed savings by the entire government during the Arroyo years was P769 billion, of which P488 billion came from the Office of the President and executive departments," he said. "Despite the extreme economic hardships, President Arroyo submitted bloated budgets, the last of which was P1.5 trillion for 2010, but at the same time claimed huge amounts of overall savings every year," he said. He added that under government practice, the President is allowed to realign savings and use them for her or his pet projects. "What makes the savings of President Arroyo more suspicious is that while many of her departments reported savings for the year in the billions, they also asked for additional funding also in the billions"

Aquino assures Chinese businessmen of level playing field

President Benigno Aquino III met with China's business leaders and assured them that a level playing field for all stakeholders would ensure the viability of doing business in the Philippines. But Mr. Aquino told the Chinese businessmen that ensuring equal opportunities for businesses in the Philippines would require undoing previous contracts that were found to be anomalous...The President said the government was holding erring public officials who encouraged anomalous business deals accountable to send the message that the government would neither tolerate nor take part in these kinds of practices. "We have already stopped a number of such projects after discovering that necessary processes were not followed and that laws had been broken"..."As I said in my campaign for the presidency: 'Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.' Mei you tan wu, jiu mei you qiong kun. An end to corruption means an end to poverty," he added. Mr. Aquino said ending corruption means ending transactions made for the benefit of those in power, "conveniently neglecting the vast majority of my countrymen."... "By holding the corrupt accountable, we are sending a signal to the whole world: In the Philippines, the rules are followed. In the Philippines, we have a level playing field. In the Philippines we are open for business: the clean, fair, and honest kind"...


2,150 WIDOWS OF GHOSTS RECEIVED PENSIONS: PNP holds pension checks of 2,150 widows of "ghost" retirees, part of a syndicate that has defrauded the PNP of some P1 billion in retiree pensions over the last five years. PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the 2,150 pensioners had claimed to be the spouses of deceased police retirees...The PNP said the alleged syndicate ringleader...had uploaded the names of fake pensioners in the database of the PNP Retirement and Benefits Administration Service (PRBS)...He was able to encode fraudulent entries into the pensioners' database when he was assigned to the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) until he was dismissed from the service in 2008... investigators so far found his handwriting on 530 suspected falsified index card records of pensioner accounts...identified and deleted more than 1,000 falsified entries encoded in the pensioners' database...the syndicate used several handlers who recruited women who passed themselves off as widows of deceased police retirees.

COA: SEC OFFICIALS LIABLE FOR FUND MISUSE >>> Officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could be held liable for the misuse of its funds for maintenance and other operating expenses last year. In a report by the Commission on Audit (CoA), the SEC was found to have wrongly spent P83.2 million for its medical benefits. The amount was part of its P100 million allocation for maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlay. CoA also said the SEC violated CoA resolution which prohibits the procurement of health care insurance from private companies.

Ex-DOTC chief Mendoza faces plunder

Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño said former officials of the DOTC led by then Secretary Leandro Mendoza could face plunder charges for the department's allegedly irregular purchase of P1.15 billion worth of marine environmental equipment and lighthouse spare parts in 2007.

PNP to file charges for rubber boat, personnel carrier scams

The Philippine National Police is expected to file criminal charges over what it claimed were irregularities in the purchase of rubber boats in 2009 and the repair of V-150 armored personnel carriers in 2007. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) team tasked to probe the P131.5-million rubber boat transaction will submit its report this week, which is expected to recommend the filing of criminal charges against suppliers and police officials linked to the alleged anomaly.

Palace: Plunder raps vs Mike Arroyo to boost govt push for accountability

The plunder complaint lodged against former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and 17 others stemming from the P105-million helicopters deal with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2009 should boost the administration's push for accountability, Malacañang said over the weekend. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, "We hope this will strengthen our drive for accountability. We have seen during the investigation that there were questions they [those accused] could not answer, and we have seen instances where their replies were contradictory,"

Senator describes as "a legal gag order" the Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) filing of plunder and other charges against former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and other personalities over the alleged forced P104.9-million sale of used helicopters to the PNP in 2009. Sen. Franklin Drilon said the PNP-CIDG's filing of charges would allow police officials involved in the mess to invoke their right not to say anything in the upcoming Senate hearings..."If we call for a hearing, they will invoke their right vs self-incrimination...He also criticized what he called the CIDG's "shotgun approach" in filing a criminal complaint before the Ombudsman, saying the move effectively leaves to the Ombudsman the burden of finding evidence against those charged


EX-FIRST GENTLEMAN, PNP EXECS FACE PLUNDER RAPS: The Philippine National Police filed plunder charges against former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, former PNP chief retired Director General Jesus Versoza, and 13 others in connection with the purchase by the PNP in 2009 of two Robinsons R44 Raven 1 helicopters. Ten others were charged with graft. Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., CIDG director, said the charges were filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) before the Office of the Ombudsman upon the approval of PNP Chief Director General Raul M. Bacalzo. Pagdilao said investigation on the circumstances surrounding the procurement of the helicopters showed that the transaction was laden with irregularities as "the specification issued by the PNP then was tailored-fit to qualify no other helicopter except the Raven 1 of MAPTRA". Two of the helicopters were passed off as brand new, but as it turned out the two Robinsons R44 Raven 1 helicopters are second hand and are said to be owned by the former First Gentleman.

MEDIA PLAYS BIG PART IN STOPPING, PREVENTING CRIMES: Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Loretta Ann Rosales said that media significantly play an important role in stopping crime and corruption, particularly in bringing these anomalies public. During the Communication and News Exchange (CNEX) Forum held at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Rosales underscored media's power to expose government anomalies. Rosales said that under media's watchful eye, corruption in government is minimized if not stopped, and unscrupulous officials are deterred into committing unlawful acts.

MORE GHOSTS: 36 PNP officers and personnel, 6 suppliers face criminal charges for collusion in the 2007 P409.7-M "ghost" repair and refurbishing of 28 PNP V-150s: all the police officers and civilians involved appeared to have colluded in violating the Government Procurement Act of 2002 (RA 9184) and could have, subsequently, committed graft and corruption in violation of Republic Act 3019. Interior and Local Government Secretary says "In the process of violating RA 9184 and the Accounting Rules and Regulations, many of the concerned PNP officers and suppliers committed falsification of documents, usurpation of authority and technical malversation. This could not have happened if there was no collusion between and amongst the bidders and the PNP personnel involved"

MOTHER OF ALL PNP SCAMS: Officials have uncovered a potential mother of all scams in the Philippine National Police involving "ghost pensioners" running away with more than P1 billion of the PNP's funds over the past five years. Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said the scam was worth between P200 and P250 million every year since 2006. Robredo said that some 2,000 of these ghost retireesmostly fake names inputted into the pensions databasehad been stricken off the list of 58,000 pensioners. "These are not retired policemen. In fact, many are not even police officers. They're just fake names. They're not even names of dead police officerswhich comprise 75 percent of the pensioners," Robredo said.




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Private groups push anticorruption drive

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Judicial and Bar Council nominates three associate justices of Sandiganbayan for position of presiding justice of anti-graft court: Associate Justices Francisco H. Villaruz Jr., Efren N. de la Cruz, and Alex L. Quiroz

Sandiganbayan junks graft charge against South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon due to defective case filed by prosecution

Presidential Commission on Good Government says recent Supreme Court decision declaring PCGG-controlled firm exempt from paying real estate taxes on 18.4-hectare "Payanig sa Pasig" land is additional proof of firm's ownership of property

Mike Arroyo: I wasn't involved in "jueteng" or smuggling

One of the justices who convicted ousted president Joseph Estrada for plunder tops shortlist of Judicial and Bar Council candidates for presiding justice post in Sandiganbayan

Although country needs nationwide broadband network, President says he will not allow revival of controversial multi-million dollar "NBN-ZTE deal"

Customs seizes 6 luxury cars in Manila

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Businessmen urged to speak out on graft

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Bureau of Immigration Commissioner warns fixers

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Senate panel OKs inquiry into bank deposits without owner's permission

COA: 11 Maguindanao towns mismanaged P525 million

Solicitor General urges Sandiganbayan to resolve 2 year old motion for reconsideration over dismissal of one of eight coconut levy fund cases involving government claim for P13.59 billion in damages.



WHITHER SERIOUSNESS?: The FOI bill did not even make it to the list of 23 priority bills submitted by Mr. Aquino to Congress -- meaning that FOI must be, at best, priority number 24 -- and was completely ignored in the President's second State-of-the-Nation address. Thus, the public is now being served a litany of excuses for this apparent neglect. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Mr. Aquino "wanted more time to study and flesh out the bill." Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said that there was a need for still more consultations so that they can craft a bill that would "balance the interests of the government, media, and the public." Presidential explainer Manolo Quezon explained that Mr. Aquino was trying "to find a happy balance between information provision and confidential government information." The President's mouthpieces make it sound as if this is the first time that Mr. Aquino has encountered this creature called FOI. In fact, the FOI bill has been floating around Congress for all the years Mr. Aquino was there and it was finally passed by both houses sometime in 2009. Then-Senator Aquino voted for Senate Bill 3308 then. As presidential candidate later, he promised to prioritize the passage of an FOI law. Today, however, he has discovered that he has "objections and reservations." -- René B. Azurin in Business World

A CORRUPTION INTOLERANT CITIZENRY: Most certainly, fighting corruption is more than just a campaign slogan or a fashionable advocacy. It is not a feel-good activity for the self-righteous. It is rather a consistent, painstaking, inconvenient process that involves not one single, quixotic crusader, but an entire community - and numerous communities all throughout the nation. -- Adelle Chua in Manila Standard

The focus of the P-Noy administration to expose the "excessive greed" of the previous administration and make those responsible accountable is meant to clean up a bureaucracy that was corrupted by the Arroyo administration. The tragedy is that the corrupting tentacles reached out to other sectors of society church, NGOs, business, and even service organizations which are also now conducting their own cleansing process. Nearly 650 private firms and business groups have signed up for the Integrity Pledge initiative that will put in place a certification system aimed at curbing corruption...The fruit of the P-Noy administration's drive to punish the corrupt is that the funds they plundered could be regained and used for social and economic development projects. The present administration's team seeing P-Noy's determination will be inspired to adhere to the "daang matuwid" and a clean government will save taxpayers' money. -- MELITO SALAZAR JR in Philippine Inquirer

The Open Government Partnership meeting is the perfect opportunity for President Aquino to unveil the ICT component of his anti-corruption drive. While the President has spent much of his time to inveigle government officials and civil servants to stay on the correct path...this cannot be mutually exclusive from reengineering, automating and transforming the bureaucracy through ICT...We can be the first country in developing Asia to commit to an open government and adopt open government data. This could be the centerpiece technology policy that would support and enable "Ang Daang Matuwid". A President that can commit his time, energy, and resources to combating corruption and make government worthy of the people's trust again can certainly lead the transformation to an "open government". -- Roberto R. Romulo in The Philippine Star

The COA has undergone thorough professionalization since the time of former COA chair Francisco Tantuico. It has evolved into a topnotch government entity composed of CPAs, lawyers, CPA-lawyers, engineers of various disciplines, and some technocrat-yuppies with MBAs and PhDs to their names. Now, how on earth and in heaven's name could the in-house, training and acquired expertise of these audit professionals be assumed by personnel in audited agencies if pre-audit will become the latters responsibility? Pray tell me, is it proper for an agency chief accountant, who certifies to the propriety and validity of the disbursement voucher and completeness of its supporting documents, to pre-audit activities vis-à-vis the same transaction? Can an audit of government transactions be conducted by a non-auditor? -- SANCHO SONNY CACERES,retired state auditor in Philippine Daily Inquirer (NOTE: Francisco Tantuico opposed the mis-named function of "pre-audit" and most professional auditors believe that it is not an audit function ay all but a pre-transaction verification internal control function that is the responsibility of management.) now falls on the Department of Justice to ensure that the indictments filed against Arroyo, former Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, former PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa, 23 police officers and several businessmen are solid, exhaustive and convincing -- will stick, in short. Whether original Arroyo accusers Archibald Po, Renato Sia and Larry de Vera should have been included in the charge sheet, given the immunity promised them by the Senate, is a matter to be resolved separately. At this point, the governments paramount obligation is to demonstrate that it can prosecute wrongdoing successfully, and not botch the case again to the continuing detriment of law and order in this country. Should this suit fall apart, the PNP should be made to pay for its criminal sloppiness -- or, worse, deceit. -- Philippine Inquirer Editorial

In investigating anything and everything connected to the previous administration, without discriminating between those that have a sound basis and those that have not, our lawmakers do us disservice. -- Manila Standard Editorial

No fairytale: the story of the Philippines by Iris Cecilia Gonzales in New Internationalist Blog

In filing overkill non-bailable charges of plunder against Mike Arroyo and other principals, that chief police prober could be ensuring their indicting as well the very resource speakers who gave the Senate basic information to build a case, that police general is also sending a stern message to future truth-tellers: squeal on the powerful and we'll jail you. He did not bother to wait for the issuance of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee findings on the scam it had unearthed and investigated. Instead he beat it to the Ombudsman, breaking a commitment to the senators to closely coordinate the filing of appropriate charges...If he is doing this deliberately, he too should be charged as another principal conspirator, for obstructing justice and for incompetence -- Jarius Bondoc in The Philippine Star

Corruption, which plagues both the Philippines and Indonesia, tends to sideline programs to empower communities to run government-given a context of widespread corruption, governments care only about producing technologies and not about creating the needed support systems for these. "It means it's only the technological aspect, that's it. They don't care about the social aspect. They don't care abut the capability of the community to handle this system," In particular, many government officials consider social projects only as "tools for corruption" that allow them to get kickbacks and other anomalous funds... -- Indonesian Tri Mumpuni in GMA NEWS

The Asian Century is on the horizonbut it is a potential, not a guarantee. Such rapid growth will be accompanied by rising inequities. Hence, governments must be able to ensure that the benefits of progress will trickle down to the entire population, not remain concentrated in the hands of the powerful few, to preserve social stability. So in the coming Asian Century, Asias twin challenges will be stamping out corruption and upholding good governance...The Philippines, has historically been one of the worst performers in the Corruption Perceptions Index, scoring only 2.4 in the latest rankings...It is a good time to initiate meaningful reforms amid increasing public confidence and government transparency. But the sustainable solution to stamping out corruption is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. One cannot sustain shock-and-awe tactics without creating fear and paralysis in the bureaucracy. Genuinely stamping out corruption is a painfully long process of cleansing institutions, changing attitudes, reshaping perceptions, initiating better ways to do things, and making institutions stronger, more enduring impervious to the whims and caprice of transient leaders. -- Senator EDGARDO J. ANGARA in Manila Bulletin


GHOSTS AROUND US: We are a nation of "ghosts," according to one regular, who is a bearded café analyst and respected seer. He refers to: 1) ghost deliveries of infrastructure materials yearly within the ambit of DPWH, 2) ghost payrolls mostly at DPWH, 3) ghost roads in Mindanao, 4) ghosts at Customs who "stole" thousands of giant container vans in the presence of port police in broad daylight, and 5) ghosts who repaired PNPs 28 units of V-150 armored personnel carriers (APC) at a reported cost of P397M. But the consensus among café seers pointed to the biggest ghost of them all: A P12-B Pag-IBIG loan to a firm whose officers are now facing syndicated estafa charges filed by DoJ. -- ATTY. ROMEO V. PEFIANCO in Manila Bulletin

SELF HELP: Going by pronouncements of US officials, we can surmise that Washington likes President Aquino and his emphasis on fighting corruption. This is in sync with the "whole of governance" approach to US foreign development and military assistance. The approach, jointly pursued by the State and Defense Departments, is based on the idea that bad governance in other countries can create serious security problems that affect American interests. -- Ana Marie Pamintuan in The Philippine Star

TRANSFORMING SOCIETY: President Aquino must begin with the people and work backwards to the corrupt officials of the previous administration. There is a distinction between reformation which calls for changing the psyche of the people and culture of corruption, and vindictiveness. Thus, can President Benigno Aquino III hack it within the five years remaining based on current evaluation of his performance, motivation, and management style? He, too, is getting into the same routine of dangling pork-barrel funds to retain allegiance, payback time for election supporters, appointments of favorites and political has-beens, and dispensing of political spoils to party mates. President Aquino may not realize it but he is being led unwittingly by the nose by traditional political operators farther away from his straight and narrow path. -- HECTOR R.R. VILLANUEVA in Manila Bulletin


The Commission on Audit has another horror story to tell about that unlucky place called Maguindanao. COA Chair Grace Pulido Tan told the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives last week that some P1.6 billion in government funds appeared to have vanished, between January 2008 and September 2009, with hardly a trace. During that period, P873.4 million was released to fund 99 projects, but government auditors were able to validate only P31.5 million worth of projects, leaving P842 million unaccounted for. At the same time, the provincial government recorded 1,441 transactions with 31 suppliers, worth a total of P810 million. One supplier denied having entered into any transaction with the government. The 30 others, who were paid out of cash advances, were found to be either operating without business permits or to have given addresses that could not be located by the auditors. Tan described these projects and transactions as “fictitious.” Andal Ampatuan Sr. was the provincial governor at the time...

Many other unethical and dishonest practices are set out in some detail in the four-volume COA report. But what sticks out most prominently was how the Ampatuans and their cohorts in the ARMM, and especially in their home province, operated outside any government accounting rules concerning the use of public funds. But then given how they helped then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to secure the election results she wanted, they must have helped themselves to government resources with nothing less than a sense of entitlement.

It is hardly surprising then that they were able to build such a vast wealth that allowed them to construct two dozen mansions and maintain a well-armed private army that few dared to cross. Neither is it surprising that when they felt that their hold on power over their turf was being challenged, the Ampatuans struck down without compunction their political enemies and anyone who came between them.

Call it the logic of impunity. In their cold-blooded calculations, the Ampatuans probably figured that if they could squander or steal billions in public funds, they just as easily could steal lives. If they could get away with plunder, why couldn’t they get away with murder? -- Inquirer Editorial



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