Corruption Traced To Bad Leadership, Dirty Elections

Aug 4th 2008

C orruption multiplies in government because many of our officials ignore (or may even be involved in) it.

This was the consensus of several Church, civil society and government leaders who took part in a conference on corruption. The meeting, held 26-27 July 2008 at the Communication Foundation for Asia, was a follow-up to a similar conference a month earlier. (See also “ Anti-Corruption Heavyweights Form Coalition”.) The Cebu-based Dilaab Foundation convened both meetings.

Even if government officials realize the social degradation resulting from corruption, they are reluctant to confront it. Many of them owe their being elected to campaign contributions from jueteng lords, drug lords and other unscrupulous patrons, it was pointed out. Their staying in power is dependent on bribes from the same sources. The Joseph Estrada plunder case was cited as proof that even the highest government position can be tainted when malefactors demand payback for their financial support.

Ordinary citizens partake of this unholy partnership when they sell their votes during elections. Or when they fail to probe deeply to check whether candidates have questionable connections.

Part of the solution to corruption may be the election of candidates whose qualifications include a demonstrated commitment against corruption. The conferees were in concurrence that the 2010 election would be the tipping point. They intend to scan the field and scout for alternative candidates who would be better candidates than the usual “presidentiables” and “senatoriables.” They also agreed to bring together efforts at voters’ education, which they said was a natural complement of anti-corruption. Especially targeted are young voters, who make up the majority of both the electorate and the national population.

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