The en­emy is your­self

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte in his fourth State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (Sona), as in all his other speeches, blares yet again an­other call against cor­rup­tion.

It’s that ever present mantra in ev­ery Sona. In 2016, he said those who be­trayed the peo­ple’s trust should not go un­pun­ished. In 2017, he said the dis­missal of sev­eral high-rank­ing of­fi­cials should serve to warn every­one, that he will

“never back down on my own com­mit­ment to cleanse this gov­ern­ment.” In 2018, he likened cor­rup­tion to a “leech that bleeds the gov­ern­ment of funds.”

In the re­cent Sona, the Pres­i­dent said he had con­fronted the en­emy, and the en­emy is us.

“Make a scene,” he in­structs those who ex­pe­ri­ence at­tempts of cor­rup­tion first hand. He’ll get wind of it some­how. Well, that’s what he said Sonas ago, that he’d gladly re­act to even a “whiff” of ir­reg­u­lar­ity. In the last three years, how­ever, it seems like it’s the Pres­i­dent who needed to take heed of his own in­struc­tion, and there must have been a squall of cor­rup­tion even in his own cir­cle. The scene the pub­lic wants is the one that takes place in the le­gal front.

Re­ports said Duterte had fired 151 gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and em­ploy­ees for rea­sons of cor­rup­tion. This year alone, at least 19 were fired or had re­signed fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of graft.

He had fired Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Nela Cha­rade Puno, Gov­ern­ment Ser­vice In­sur­ance Sys­tem Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral

Man­ager Je­sus Clint Aranas. He had also sacked the mem­bers of the Nay­ong Fil­ipino Foundation and a num­ber of Depart­ment of Agricultur­e of­fi­cials.

Re­cently, when news on the “ghost” Philip­pine Health In­sur­ance Corp. (Philhealth) claims in a clinic over dial­y­sis treat­ment, the Pres­i­dent fired of­fi­cials of the agency. Le­gal charges against these of­fi­cials are yet to be filed.

Mean­while, Ni­canor Fael­don is reap­pointed as Deputy Ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Of­fice of Civil De­fense, he who was Bureau of Cus­toms com­mis­sioner who was linked to a P6.4-bil­lion shabu smug­gling case. He was then with fel­low BOC of­fi­cials Ger­ardo Gam­bala and Milo

Maestre­campo. The “whiff” it seemed fer­ried them to is­lands just as sunny—gam­bala is now di­rec­tor in the Of­fice of Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity and Maeste­campo is as­sis­tant di­rec­tor gen­eral in the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity of the Philip­pines.

So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Jose Cal­ida is also some­thing else. The Om­buds­man filed graft cases against him for be­ing a ma­jor stock­holder of a se­cu­rity ser­vices provider that bagged sev­eral gov­ern­ment con­tracts. Cal­ida said he had di­vested his shares from the fam­ily-owned busi­ness, but yet again, the Pres­i­dent shoved him into the seat.

So it isn’t just the fir­ing, but the real fil­ing of graft raps that will give cre­dence to the

Pres­i­dent’s anti-cor­rup­tion rhetoric. The pub­lic will find it hard to in­ter­nal­ize his in­struc­tion to “make a scene” in the face of cor­rup­tion with­out

Duterte’s real cue-in. -Sscebu

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