MANILA — The head of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Sunday belied reports that the Philippines is becoming a “more corrupt” state under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
PACC chair Dante Jimenez said the claim that corruption worsened under Duterte’s watch was far from the truth.
“In the first place, how can that be true if the President has introduced so many reforms? Like for instance, the freedom of information under the executive branch of government. No. 2, nandiyan ‘yung ease to do business (we have the ease of doing business), the law on anti-red tape, and many others,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Jimenez’s statement was in response to the Jan. 24 article published by American business magazine Forbes, which claims that the Philippines is turning into a “more corrupt and less democratic state.”
The article, written by Panos Mourdoukoutas, said that corruption and political oppression in the Philippines stay “intact,” supposedly preventing the country from “developing modern infrastructure, attracting foreign capital, lowering unemployment, sustain(ing) economic growth, and escap(ing) poverty.”
The Forbes’ article read: “The Philippines is getting a more corrupt and less democratic state under President Rodrigo Duterte.”
Jimenez expressed dismay that critics, instead of focusing on “reality,” are basing their allegations on “perception.”
“Perception is different from the reality that is happening in the Philippines. So I would say that these are all paninira sa (false accusations against the) successful campaign of the President against corruption,” he said.
‘Very successful’ anti-corruption drive
Contrary to the report, the President’s anti-corruption campaign has come to fruition, Jimenez said.
Jimenez bragged that in just three years since Duterte assumed office in 2016, the fight against corruption has become “very successful.”
“In three years time, noong nakita ko sa kanyang campaign (I noticed that his campaign), especially with the creation of PACC, (has turned out to be) very, very successful,” the PACC chief said.
“Sa (For) PACC, as far as we are concerned, our assessment of the anti-corruption campaign of the President has been so far a success,” he added.
Duterte has repeatedly assured the public that he has zero-tolerance for corruption.
Jimenez noted that the President’s crackdown on corruption in government has so far led to the firing of and filing of cases against many public officials and employees suspected of graft and corruption.
He also cited that dozens of personnel of the Bureau of Customs have been dismissed from service, as part of Duterte’s effort to clean the bureau that is mired in several controversies.
He added that the PACC has filed charges against officials of the National Housing Authority who are responsible for incomplete and substandard housing projects built for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“Ang importante, marami na kaming nakasuhan sa Ombudsman, marami nang natanggal si Presidente (What’s important is many have been charged before the Ombudsman, and many have already been fired by the President),” Jimenez said.
The President has also intensified his fight against corruption by exposing the “corrupt” corporations that have existing deals with the government, such as embattled water firms Manila Water and Maynilad, Jimenez said.
“If we will list all these exposes and these, ang dami-dami niyan (there are so many cases of corrupt activities) since 2016 when he assumed,” the PACC chair stressed.
Early this month, Duterte vowed to correct all existing government contracts with the private sector that will be found “prejudicial to the Filipino people.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said there was no need for investors to be “afraid” of Duterte’s directive unless they entered into “onerous” deals with the government.
Relentless fight vs. corruption
Jimenez said Duterte’s crackdown on corruption in government would remain relentless, despite false accusations hurled by the President’s enemies.
“That is not only advocacy but government’s responsibility iyan (that is also a government’s responsibility). It’s a government’s responsibility,” he said.
He was hopeful that the judiciary and the legislative would also help Duterte’s office in going after corrupt public officials and employees.
“Hindi lang dapat ang executive ang mag-trabaho, pati the two other branches of government (It is not just the executive branch’s job to stop corruption. We also need the help of the two other branches of government,” he said.
He sought the cooperation of the two other branches of government, as he took note of the “slow” justice system in the country.
“Ang ating (Our) fight against corruption is also a fight against the justice system. Masyadong mabagal. That’s why ‘yun ang nagiging problem. A separate branch of government iyan (But our justice system is too slow. That’s the problem. It’s the job of the separate branches of government),” Jimenez said. (PNA)
Credit belongs to : Philippine News Agency