Anti-Corruption Heavyweights Form Coalition

July 24th 2008

F or two days (June 26-27, 2008), leaders from the church, NGOs and community organizations assembled at the Communication Foundation for Asia to plot a new war against the Dark Side.

Point men and women in the campaign against corruption were there. Among them were Archbishop Carlos Arguelles of Lipa, Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Governor “Among Ed” Panlilio of Pampanga, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, Fr. Albert Alejo of Ehem, Fr. Filoteo Pelingon of CFA, and Atty. Mia Zafra of the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas. Fr. Carmelo Diola of Dilaab, who exposed the shady deals connected with the ASEAN Summit in Cebu, was also there. So was Heidi Mendoza, formerly of the Commission on Audit, whose evidence-gathering brought to trial the Armed Forces Comptroller General charged with pocketing millions of public money.

Monsignor Gerry Santos of the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (National Capital Region) made sure the academic sector was counted in.

What was termed an “exploratory meeting” was an offshoot of a briefing made by Dilaab early this year to a group of bishops. The bishops then expressed the need for various anti-corruption initiatives in the Church to come together to form a national network.

As part of its continuing involvement in the Church’s call for communal action, CFA offered its site as assembly point.During the meeting, experiences and lessons learned were shared. An inventory of resources was made, to determine who’s doing what, and who’s got what assets that the others can tap.

The participants agreed that new strategies to fight corruption need to be formulated. Among the plans are to undertake an education drive to make the public aware of what corruption is, how corruption hurts them, and how they can counter it. The coalition also saw the need to promote corruption monitoring and reporting, and protect “whistle blowers.”

An interesting new approach echoes the Christian precept of “hating sin but loving the sinner.” The conferees said there was a need to engage persons believed to be committing corruption, and attempt to lead them to reformation.

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