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Wednesday, October 17

Beware there's an OUTBREAK...of CORRUPTION!

I am re-printing here a column by one of my favorite columnists, Mr. Jarius Bondoc of the Philippine Star. I mentioned in my friend's blog that one of my passions is writing/sending emails to newspapers' columnists (both from Philstar and Phil Daily Inquirer) on my thoughts regarding current issues or just simply giving them a bit of what I know (first-hand info). And it gives me a different kind of feeling when they publish my letters--that I was able to help in my own little way. I firmly believe in the saying "That evil thrives because good men do nothing". In my next post, I decided to tell things that I know, actually experienced regarding corruption in government....Let's start a crusade, to stop corruption in our country (impossible?), and it can begin with each of us....We can send letters/emails to our so-called leaders, newspapers' editorials, radio/tv news and talk show hosts, tell them the not-so good encounters you had with our public servants (that includes employees in government agencies)....Let them be shamed. Let them get their acts together. We need to change our system soon. Before our kids get this very contagious disease---of corruption.

Opinion

Governor Ed, believe it or not, it’s a bribe
GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Governor Ed Panlilio of Pampanga is a priest. He was the parish pastor of Betis town just before he was elected head of one of the country’s richest provinces. He is used to the clerical life. And that includes receiving donations from varied sources for his many religious projects.

When a man in barong handed Governor Ed P500,000 cash at the Malacañang Palace grounds, he didn’t think twice about accepting. For him it was another regular contribution to the causes he represents. He cannot even remember now who had handed him the gift bag full of crisp new P1,000 bills. All he knew then was that it was a welcome addition to the funds he needs for anti-poverty plans. And so he would just report the amount to his parish council, er, provincial capitol, as usual.

Or so he thought.

Governor Ed has been in office for four months. That should be enough time for him to learn the big difference between Church money and State money. He was given a generous amount of cash at the Malacañang gardens not as a man of the robe but as government functionary. The reason he was in Malacañang was not to celebrate Holy Mass but to attend a rush meeting of the League of Provinces of the Philippines and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. He was there with fellow-governors, mayors and other local officials. In fact, the governor of adjacent Bulacan province too, along with many unidentified local officials, admitted to receiving similar P500,000 “gifts”.

And so, contrary to what Governor Ed prefers to believe, what was given him was a bribe. Nothing more, nothing less.

And what was the bribe for? Governor Ed himself gave the purpose. The local officials had not gathered at Malacañang for any religious activity. On the contrary, they were called there by President Gloria Arroyo to discuss politics. Specifically, Governor Ed vividly recalled, they had agreed to neither support nor oppose the impeachment case in Congress against Arroyo. If Governor Ed analyzes it deeply, that “neutrality” meant that they would leave Arroyo alone — which is best politically for her than anybody else. Was not the money distributed in Malacañang instead of released through proper channels like the budget department, and not in cash but in the form of notices?

Governor Ed would do well to contemplate the context in which the P500,000 was given to him. Was not the sham impeachment complaint accompanied by offers of P2 million each to six Opposition congressmen to serve as endorsers? Was it not followed by a stupendous P100-million bribe to 200 congressmen, at P500,000 each like the local officials’, to corner Speaker Jose de Venecia into referring by proxy the limp case to the justice committee — for certain burial? Did not the impeachment case arise from two other bribery incidents: $10 million to businessman Joey de Venecia and P200 million to Sec. Romy Neri, both from a partymate-official whom Arroyo did not bother to prosecute?

And where does Governor Ed think the money came from? It certainly did not generously flow from personal pockets of Malacañang occupants. Otherwise, they would have innocently but openly handed the money themselves, no strings attached. Yet, there was no covering voucher nor receipt. This belies the explanation that the huge handouts were “allowances”, and confirms that it did not come from the usual releases of the budget department. Yet, the money source can only be the public coffers, most likely from one of those discretionary intelligence funds. And there will be more of it for Governor Ed and his colleagues for the next three years of their terms. At what expense will such P500,000 “gifts” be given away again and again, considering the worsening poverty and moral degeneration of Filipinos?

Governor Ed must sue the P500,000 briber. That is his responsibility as government official.

Pampangos elected Governor Ed out of spite for a long line of greedy thieving officials. Inspiring voters from other officials that bad officials can be repudiated after all, they had pinned on a priest their dream for good government. Hopefully Governor Ed would not fall for temptations — and attendant excuses — of wrong leadership. After all, he is known to humbly yet avidly learn about reforms.

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2 comments:

auee said...

I admit I read just one article concerning this alleged bribery. I've got two reactions.
First, how can Fr Ed NOT know it's bribe? How can he even claim it's okay as he wasn't explicitly asked to do something? Disappointing.

Second, how come everyone's noisy about this priest but mum about the others who were allegedly bribed, too?

*sigh*

rowena said...

Hi Auee, Fr. Ed said he thought the money is a help for his projects and not for the brgy. election nor for the dismissal of the impeachment complaint. Re the noise on the priest, I think maybe because it was only the priest and the Bulacan governor who exposed that they received such money in Malacanang. Yung iba sanay na and they don't think there's anything wrong with it. Nasanay na sa suhulan, tsk, tsk...Dapat talaga ma-expose din the rest of the 120 leaders who received our hard-earned money. Shame on them.