Thursday, March 15, 2007

FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio

“RULE BY THIEVES”

From being branded as second only to Iraq as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, the Philippines recently gained another title of notoriety as the “most corrupt country in Asia” bestowed by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy that conducts an annual survey of foreign business executives in 13 countries of Asia. If this bad characterization of the only Christian nation in Asia is true, then kleptocracy or “rule by thieves” has already replaced democracy in the Philippines.

Here, in America, corruption still persists but not in the same massive proportion as in the Philippines or Indonesia. A watchful American media and dedicated law enforcement agencies have displayed an effective partnership to discourage corrupt practices in government. They show no respect for powerful politicians whenever they misuse their political power for personal monetary gain and other illegal activities.

A once powerful Republican leader in Congress recently resigned from his political post after he was indicted for funneling illegal funds to his political campaign. A former Deputy Attorney General under the Clinton Administration who was a former law partner and close friend of Hillary did resign after he was exposed to have engaged in illegal billing of his law office in Arkansas and a possible target in the government investigation of the Whitewater Real Estate Scam.

The evil of corruption attacks everyone in power. But the weak in character or those who failed to resist the temptation get caught in the web. More often than not, it's the lure of dirty money that hits the scoundrels.

When a judge rules in favor of the guilty party who bribes him or her and punish the innocent, justice is not served because of corruption. When any award is given to a person or group because of some monetary or illegal consideration by a government reviewing panel or board, it is graft and corruption.

When public funds are misused to support political candidates and the amount of money runs into billions, democracy is dying and the people will bleed to death. Is this what happened in the Philippines in 2004? If so, then the Philippines deserves the title of being the most corrupt country in Asia.

I believe the Filipino people can still stop the slow death of democracy this year by electing honest and dedicated candidates for public office whose main concern is public service and whose track record is not tainted with corruption.

End
junpolicarpio@yahoo.com
junpolicarpio@gmail.com

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