“The drive against corruption will only gain momentum if there is real accountability, especially of the biggest crooks in government. The Aquino administration concretely can set the tone for this by going after former president Arroyo and her many big and small cronies, in her family and among her allies,” Jose Enrique Africa, Ibon Foundation research head, said.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – President Benigno S. Aquino III won on the campaign slogan “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (if there is no corruption, there would be no poverty). But in less than 100 days since he assumed the presidency, there are so far no indications of a truly determined anti-corruption drive by the new administration, said Jose Enrique Africa, research head independent think-tank Ibon Foundation.
The first 100 days of any administration are unique as it is the moment of transition from the old government, and the new administration is at the height of its optimism, trust and popularity, Africa said.
“What it does in the first 100 days is not necessarily final for the remaining six years and, to be sure, just so much can be realistically done in so short a time. Yet the first 100 days offer important insights into the character of the new administration and establishes the directions of its governance,” Africa added.
However, Africa noted that the Aquino administration “is showing few signs of conviction and a real reform agenda and has not used its first 100 days to establish any real momentum for the economic and political reform that the country needs – belying its promise of change.”
No Prosecution of Arroyo
“The drive against corruption will only really gain momentum if there is real accountability, especially of the biggest crooks in government. The Aquino administration concretely can set the tone for this by going after former president Arroyo and her many big and small cronies, in her family and among her allies.”
However, Africa noted there is a lack of drive in prosecuting former president Arroyo and her cronies.
The Truth Commission formed by Aquino was deemed as toothless.
The Center for People Empowerment in Governance (Cenpeg) describes it as “a toothless and footless fact-finding body.” “To say the least, creating a superbody with no powers of prosecution makes this presidential move to address corruption a farce and reveals a lack of political will and decisiveness on the part of the new chief executive to fulfill a major promise,” according to Cenpeg’s Issue Analysis.
Jueteng, Still Rampant
Under the Aquino administration, jueteng, an illegal numbers game, remain widespread.
In his blog, Retired Pangasinan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said jueteng money “go regularly to corrupt collaborating local public officials who see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing about the illegal numbers game being played under their noses.” Cruz said the police “act as very willing and able protectors of the same rigged and crooked numbers game.”
Cruz said there was a resurgence of jueteng, according to field reports that were reaching him.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Rico E. Puno was implicated in jueteng, with reports saying he gets up to P8 million ($181,818) a month. Cruz also named retired Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa as among those who benefit from the illegal numbers game.
Cenpeg said the president also needs to do house cleaning within his own government. “Unimpeachable sources revealed, that top officials in the Aquino government involved in security matters are on the take on the P38 billion ($864 million) jueteng industry,” the group said.
Catholic bishops also said if the Aquino government is to be true to his campaign promise, then he should put a stop to jueteng.