What it means to fulfill a promise to "eradicate corruption"

The good news about corruption is that it makes for good campaign fodder for politicians who happen to be running at a time of widespread public frustration over its endemic prevalence. The bad news is that come the time for said politician to deliver we find that corruption is not exactly the tangible beast it is made out to be during the campaign.

Indeed, even the family publicist of the Aquinos cannot help but continuously highlight the reality of what won their unico hijo that lucrative seat in Malacanang…

Aquino, who ran and won on an anticorruption platform and has promised to prosecute officials enmeshed in corruption scandals, is expected to rally Filipinos to help him govern the country.

The above statement is spot-on with one important thing. President-Elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will need another “miracle” of the sort often attributed by his mouthpieces to “people power” of the “Edsa” sort. Seriously. That’s because corruption is not some kind of well-defined bogeyman that any lone bozo can snipe at from a distance. Corruption is more like the alien monster in John Carpenter’s classic film The Thing. Its DNA infiltrates every genome of every organism that inhabits a society it fatally afflicts — to the point that even the very person who fancies himself as the anti-corruption “crusader” embodied is compelled to apply the litmus test to himself.

Case in point; even one of the most widely-recognised approaches to “measuring” corruption in a society — Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which rates entire countries on a scale from zero (really bad) to 10 (really good) — has not much to go by beyond perception abstracted from survey responses. Nevertheless, it gives a baseline from which we can draw a few interesting insights. Here is the Philippine CPI track record so far over the last nine years — each item indicates Year, Rating, and (Country Rank):

2009 2.4 (139)
2008 2.3 (141)
2007 2.5 (131)
2006 2.5 (121)
2005 2.5 (117)
2004 2.6 (102)
2003 2.5 (92)
2002 2.6 (77)
2001 2.9 (65)

Needless to say, the Philippines’s lack of improvement in its absolute rating is punctuated by the steep decline in its international ranking. It does not take the insight of a rocket scientist to pitch these numbers as an indictment of the last nine years of President Gloria Arroyo’s administration. But, see, that’s all in the past. The really inconvenient thing about the past is that while it is useful as hindsight it is quite immune to the effects of “action”. The future on the other hand is different. The future is out there for the picking. It is yet to be made.

The question is:

Can Filipinos make their future?

It all depends on what we mean by “make”. For me there are two ways things are made. The first type of way something is made can be illustrated by considering how the pride and joy of Filipinos — the rice terraces — came about. It is an absolutely magnificent structure to behold; the product of centuries of consistent toil. Hold that thought while we consider the second type of way something is made. For that second type, we use the former American naval base in Subic Bay to illustrate it. It is as wondrously magnificent as the rice terraces, though perhaps not as commanding of emotional appeal.

So here’s the question that will reveal the key difference between the nature of the minds of the people who built these structures:

Which of the two was a product of a future aspiration?

Part of the answer to that question can be found in the timeless words of national treasure Nick Joaquin in his regard for that other national treasure, the rice terraces:

About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces–and even that grandeur shrinks, on scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts (like a colony of ant hills) rather than one grand labor following one grand design.

Suffice to say, the original “builders” of the rice terraces most likely never foresaw the accidental grandness of the outcome of their work, but to the builders of the naval base in Subic Bay, the expected outcome was crystal clear from the time ground was first broken.

Today, the government of Noynoy Aquino has two options to consider with regard to fulfilling their “anti-corruption” promises. The first option is to approach it the same way the “builders” of the rice terraces did, and the second option is to approach it the way the builders of the naval base on Subic Bay did.

Indeed, an effort to “eradicate corruption” is one that goes up against a systemic beast. For corruption — the type such as the one endemic to a backward society such as the Philippines’ — being systemic can only beaten by systemic solutions.

An “anti-corruption” campaign is by no means new. Look back to what I wrote way back in 2003 and consider just how unoriginal the whole concept of an “anti-corruption platform” comes across to me today…

Asked what is Philippine society’s most challenging malaise, most people will answer without much reflection — corruption.

What must we do to cure this malaise? People are even quicker with answers:

Prosecute the offenders!
Refuse to give bribes!
More discipline!
Set an example!
Corruption is Public Enemy Number One!

Yeah, right.

There are enough of these half-witted sloganeering campaigns to serve as election campaign fodder for the next 100 years.

And the beginnings of a solution that could be engineered from this clear understanding of just how intangibly beastly the issue of “corruption” really is was already evident to those of us who applied a bit of brain to the matter at the time:

What can we do differently this time?

Our failed efforts to combat corruption are echoed by the hollowness of the above-cited slogans. They have one thing in common: They all address the symptom and not the root cause. Corruption is a mere symptom of an underlying dysfunction — lack of trust. And as we have shown above, our attempts to stifle the symptom merely nourishes the environment that breeds it. By attempting to stifle corruption with controls, we nurture an environment of mutual distrust. By making self-righteous calls for “discipline” and “restraint”, we merely highlight that Filipinos are, in fact, an undisciplined and unrestrained lot and enforce our perception of one another’s untrustworthiness.

The key, therefore, is to put forth some semblance of clarity around the aspired to results of the anti-corruption effort we are “encouraged” to rally around over the next six years of Noynoy’s administration. Only in this way can any solution to “corruption” come across as engineered and therefore serious. The road to such seriousness could begin with this question, Mr President:

What CPI rating can we aspire to see the Philippines garnering from Transparency International at the end of your term in 2016?

Perhaps the challenge really does not lie in motivating the Filipino people to rally behind you, Mr President, but more in providing them something to rally TO.

The solutions are obvious.


About benign0

benign0 is the Web master of GetRealPhilippines.com
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50 Responses to What it means to fulfill a promise to "eradicate corruption"

  1. concerned_citizen says:

    The first 100 days will be the start of the disillusionment of those yellow fanatics. Their only consolation is to

    ignore reality once again. The reality that they were duped and lured by the power of their own ignorance. Their

    regrets will be the greatest since they were the ones who elected an incompetent and indecisive oligarch

    into power. My only regret is that the Filipino people have been screwed once again. It really is the time to seek

    greener pastures. I’m not being un-nationalistic, I’m just being realistic.

    • ArticleRequest says:

      I (sadly) disagree. Pinoys are the last people on Earth to realize their failures. Look at Erap – a dropout, convicted plunderer, failed president. In 2010 he gets 2nd place and people completely forget whadaheck happened in 2010.

      Pinoys elect and reelect the same incompetent bozos not because of platforms and track records but because of your apelyido, family clan, name recall, and a bunch of unrealistic illusions of greatness.

      Do you think average Pinoy voters can even remember their candidates campaign promises after a 100 days?

      But guess what they repeat the same cycle ALL the time. They love repeating themselves. Thats why theres a Bongbong, Danding, Noynoy, Dingdong, Pokwang, Pekpek, etc.

  2. Morga says:

    Brilliant points as usual, Benigs. Though I submit it was not Aquino’s so-called anti-corruption platform that made him win. “Walang corrupt, walang mahirap” was cooked up by Aquino’s handlers to give him some semblance of an ideological stance, but what made him win plain and simple were the millions of empty minds that hopped on his fun machine, the nonstop musical showbiz bonanza aided by the wanton bias of the media that shamelessly promoted Aquino as the redeemer of mankind while throwing one demolition job after another at his opponents. Ask the people who voted for Aquino what corruption means, most of them won’t be able to define it in concrete, realistic terms. The best they can do is say corruption equals Gloria Arroyo, as if getting rid of Arroyo magically cures systemic corruption in the whole bureaucracy. Many of them won’t even be able to detail exactly what makes Arroyo corrupt. They will simply mouth “Hello Garci”, “NBN/ZTE”, and “fertilizer scam” without knowing exactly what went on with these issues, and how much or how little court-admissible evidence is available. The suckers don’t realize Aquino himself is far from transparent. The other night I had a good laugh with some friends over the list of campaign donors Aquino’s handlers submitted to the Comelec. We know a bunch of people from different provinces who gave huge amounts to Aquino’s campaign but none of their names were on the list. Someone we know who was supplying food for some of Aquino’s sorties also admitted he was “requested” to bloat his invoice by 15-20% over the actual amount paid, because somebody was pocketing the excess and covering his tracks with receipts.

    The joke will be on Aquino in the coming months because people will expect him to deliver on his fake platform. His handlers are already on damage control trying to tone down expectations. They are singing quite a different tune from the overpromises that were tossed right and left during the campaign. Too late, people, too late. Let’s see you raise–how much was it you said? P250 billion?–by plugging tax leaks in the next 100 days. Last we heard, this time frame has been stretched to two or three years. So what happens to the deficit? How will Aquino deal with it if he can’t plug the tax leaks and won’t raise taxes?

    These are the things we need to hear from the media, not the design of Aquino’s barong on inauguration day.

  3. J.B. says:

    I agree that corruption is a symptom but on a different root cause.

    It is the way Filipinos gratify themselves.

    The reason the same complacent people, who turn deaf and blind to any govt branch collecting monies from people willing to transact, voted Noynoy in the false belief he can do it by just stifling the arms of the corrupt, unmindful that they’re complacent subconsciously agreeing this people seated in power has some “right” to gratify himself.

  4. Miriam Quiamco says:

    That’s why I voted for Gibo Teodoro, he had a clear platform on how to curb corruption. We are doomed, corruption will persist in the country, and if the economy tanks because of N/A’s incompetence, people only have themselves to blame for it.

    • famous wolf says:

      It would be impossible, they’ll pin their blame on Noynoy instead. I’ve heard this tune playing in our heads for a long time. To regret means to look back on past actions and do anything to prevent another catastrophe. Most pinoys are arrogant SOB’s that don’t listen to you once they were wrong, they’ll follow their decision till’ the end or it blows up in their faces more. In the end, we all suffer because the acts of fools will remain. The people will never get this country running, they will never see a highly respectable country, this isn’t me being a nationalist, this is me being a Darwinist and like any Darwinist, I must adapt to an environment that will suit my survival.

  5. benign0 says:

    @ Morga, thanks. 🙂 I dunno about people expecting Noynoy to deliver on his platform, though. If I know Pinoys well enough, I’d say they wouldn’t even remember what one bozo politician or the other promises during their campaign. That’s simply not a part of our political culture. Although as you mentioned, Mr concerned_citizen, it would be interesting to see how engaged the public remain over the course of Noynoy’s first 100 days.

    But then, it’s really the people in the intelligentsia who will probably notice. And I think the blogosphere will be an important counteracting force to the “damage control” Noynoy’s handlers are mounting.

    Noynoy needs to be made into a lesson for future generations of Pinoy voters, the same way that many of the moronic attempts to instigate new Edsa “revolutions” no longer come across as convincing to the public.

    I get the feeling that over the next months he will be routinely grandstanding trivial things like scrimping on inaugural parades and official foreign travel and other pa-humble tactics to endear him to small minds and distract people from his non-delivery of the BIG non-trivial stuff.

    @ J.B. I agree, there’s also that element of how ingrained corruption has become into the very collective psyche of Pinoy society, so much so that many people feel they are entitled to an illicit slice of the value of transactions that cross their desks…

    • Morga says:

      Normally, the vacuous yellow mob won’t remember what Aquino promised, but I think the ridiculously oversimplified notion of corruption he peddled with “Walang corrupt, Walang mahirap” is going to backfire on him. He cut the complexity of human nature and the black hole that is Philippine bureaucracy into Nonoy = Good, Zero Corruption and Gloria = Evil, 100% Corruption. He did not leave room for an escape clause. Now his handlers are on damage control, and will probably get the full cooperation of the yellow media. They will pretend he never made those crazy promises. Unfortunately, this is the age of YouTube. We’ve already downloaded everything 😉

  6. ricelander says:

    You say:
    “Corruption is a mere symptom of an underlying dysfunction — lack of trust. … our attempts to stifle the symptom merely nourishes the environment that breeds it.”

    I do not quite follow your line of argument. It’s like saying, the sonofabitch stole from me because I did not trust him with the key to my vault.

    I think corruption is a symptom of a serious lack of economic opportunities. Sure, there will be no shortage of bandits in this world, in or out of government, who derive their pride and joy from raiding treasuries not their own. But for the good one who want to earn more, for a nice home and a new car perhaps, but through decent and honest work, he would quit his present work because it pays so very very little and go looking for a better-paying job or an extra work or even put up a small venture himself—if he knows he would find more and better opportunities outside. Without hope for better alternative opportunities, surely, he too will stick it out like the dinosaurs who came before him, better this than without a job. And when the need arises or temptation knocks whichever comes first, he looks around and sees everyone’s into it somehow, he begins thinking, hell, what’s wrong with a few bucks. That “few bucks” of course is his baptismal, the start of everything good and wonderful that is sure to make one forget his old decent self little by little

    • ChinoF says:

      It’s more like this: the SOB stole from you because he didn’t trust you. He was probably thinking, “hayup yun, ayaw naman mamigay yun, kaya OK lang magnakaw sa kanya!” The stealer is the one who doesn’t trust you. Also, your “not entrusting your key to him” is actually an abuse of trust. If you say that is wrong, I agree, no one has the right to demand that others entrust their keys to them.

      But your explanation holds. Serious lack of economic opportunities… plus the kind of thinking I stated above… one messed up country.

  7. innagadda54 says:

    “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. Luke 11:23

    Noynoy was in Congress and in the Senate. He was either :

    a) part of corruption

    b) saw corruption first hand and did nothing

    c) asleep at wheel and too disengaged to see anything like Sgt.Shultz from Hogan’s Heroes.

    There really is no d) . All that nebulous “I am against corruption” is just rhetoric. There is no evidence of him EVER using his cojones what makes anyone think he will use them now?? Oh yeah, our electorate and our MSM (Mainstream Media ) do not think.

    He has never been a leader. He just has the right last name. Someday others will realize the Emperor has no clothes.


  8. Pugot Ulo says:

    Speaking of corruption, I think the root cause of it is too much MSG. It has affected the brains of our people. Very much like the fall of the Roman Empire with their lead piping!

    See Below! 🙂

    • BenK says:

      You know what, a lot of people are probably going to think you’re an off-topic goofball for making that comment, but I’m not so sure you’re not onto something. Of course, if it ever turns out that MSG is the Philippines’ “lead pipes”, Filipinos being what they are will just have one more excuse (to go along with one I discovered last week concerning the link between diabetes risk and white rice) to play the victim card — never mind that diet is largely a matter of choice.

      If you find any legitimate medical data detailing health risks of MSG, let me know. It’s an intriguing topic.

      • Pugot Ulo says:

        @ BenK

        You’re right, it was “an off-topic goofball” comment. It was just for fun to say that. Okay 🙂 Plain and simple humor.

        Corruption will never be eradicated. Its root cause depends on the circumstance of the person committing it. Here’s my two cents: We have the laws that deal with corruption. The problem is—do we respect the laws? Do we, as a democracy, enforce them?

        We’re so hyper when it comes to bringing a corrupt leader down. But we’re so mahinhin in terms of what to do with that corrupt leader once he/she is brought down. It’s like, “HOLY SHIT, YOU’RE STEALING? ENOUGH WITH YOU! LET’S TRY SOMEONE ELSE!”

        But what happens afterwards? I don’t really care who steals, how much they stole, nor where the loot is kept. My issue is, what the hell are we doing about it? As far as I know, nothing. I don’t blame the thieves in the Philippines. To a certain extent, I am cheering them on. Corruption must be legal in the Philippines because the victims are allowing them. In fact, here’s an idea: Why don’t we just legalize corruption? It’s so widespread and accepted that there’s no point in having laws against it.

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        You brought up a really good point here, enforcement of laws is the key, but as far as I know our laws against corruption are not that effective, they punish those who steal a pittance, as Gibo said we need laws that also reward those who save the system from corrupt practices. In the DND, he was able to curb corruption by 40% in the two short years of his stint there. He also jailed a corrupt general, you are right, we need to send to jail more corrupt public officials, not only the president, but also others in the position of power.

  9. Hyden Toro says:

    While we evaluate, if the “sloganeering” will work, or not. Corruption in government has been a problem
    while there were governments. I am not a pessimist, but only a realist. What would happen, if the corrupts are:

    1. Your KamagAnak. That is, members of your KamagAnak, Inc.

    2. Your Avid Supporters; who helped you get elected in the election.

    3. Your Uncle Peping Conjuangco, who may be a billionaire; but wants more billions.

    4. Just plain opportunists, who goes from party to party. Whatever party is in power.

    Corruption is done in hiding. Just start with those Police, with two to three families. They need those “tongs”,
    from the jeepney drivers, to support their harems. Not only Police. Government officials who have many wives and families. I know a corrupt government Bank Manager, who was forced into corruption, to live a High living lifestyle. It is unrealistic to tell everybody: that you can eradicate corruption. Consequently, I am a good student of History: I’ve sknown:ever since there were governments, there were corruptions.

    To minimize corruption would be a better term. Don’t give people too much Hope. Because people are not that naive.

    • NotMasochisticFilipino says:

      I got (exaggerating) news for you:

      Philippines is like like Eddie Brock and corruption is like his spiderman alien costume. The costume has been on him too long, he’ll die if that costume leaves him.

      Philippines cannot live without corruption.

      • J.B. says:


        Actually, it’s going to wind down eventually with the advent of information technologies. People will finally get sick and tired of doing it.

        But it’s too difficult in the context of the Philippines where people find pleasure in things,identities and anything but ideas.

  10. Dee says:

    I think it’s a combination of lack of economic opportunities and poor law enforcement. Some government officials do it because of desperation to fulfill basic needs. Some of course are just pure evil. They do it because they know they can get away with it. It’s so easy to get away with it. With meager salaries of government officials in this backward economy, there’s always the temptation. And also let’s not forget the bandwagon effect, corruption is just so endemic, everyone is doing it, so some might justify it and say a “little” bit of stealing wouldn’t do that much damage. The poor law enforcement even encourages corruption. You don’t get caught, so you get encouraged to steal some more, and more and more.

    The problem with the Philippines is that we don’t have good law enforcement like a country like America or even the haji or shame used in Japan. In these developed countries, the negative incentive of cheating or stealing are worse than the positive incentives of the money you gain. In America, it’s easy to catch a corrupt official and do something about it. In Japan, you get severely chastised you get shunned like you have leprosy. The public humiliation is so severe that you might as well kill yourself.

    Too bad the Philippines do not have this, alam na nga na corrupt, pero hinahayaan lang, na-iingganyo tuloy mangurakot pa lalo, pero pag naging usapan na talaga ng bayan, hindi pa rin nahiya, wala namang kwenta ang judicial system kaya hindi makapagbayad sa kasalanan, hanggang sa makalimutan na ng tao. That is also another problem: Filipinos are too forgiving. This is why Erap was able to placed second on the election and Imelda Marcos was able to get elected.

    I think resolving this problem is all about incentives, both negative and positive. In the Philippines, if you do a good deed, you rarely if not get rewarded. Mas madaling mangurakot or accept bribes because those who see it are either too scared to step up and say something or they are benefitting from it as well. If you do your job honestly, it’s difficult to succeed because of the meager salary. For some, it’s just following the hierarchal needs. You will do whatever to fulfill your physiological and safety needs before anything else, by hook or by crook. Your everyday food and your children’s education are more important than public dishonesty and public shame.

    Kaya in conclusion, if you’re doing a good job, you should be rewarded. Give good incentives to honest officials. And those that are found guilty should suffer some serious negative ones. There could be a tv show exposing corrupt officials (I think GMA has think for con artists?) There could be an institution that people can go to or call to but still remain anonymous to report these corrupt bastards. And if you are tried and proven guilty, you should go to jail and please be banned from public service. Erap in Election 2010 is a disgrace!

  11. Miriam Quiamco says:

    This is a Gibonian idea on how to solve corruption, did you by any chance vote for Gibo? Sayang talaga siya and he does have the track record of jailing a corrupt general, I’m sure, he would be serious in curbing corruption, try as any well-intentioned politician might be, corruption can only be made less harmful or curbed, not totally eliminated, as we can see, no country is totally free of corruption, so eradicating corruption 100% is almost close to impossible. The top two economic giants in the world are also very corrupt, and when it comes to monetary values, they are way more corrupt than our country. It is however, in the bureaucratic procedures of running a business that corruption harms an economy. But hey, isn’t China corrupt, why are foreign investors trooping there, and what about Indonesia, ranked number 1 in a recent survey of corrupt countries, it is attracting huge foreign investments, why is the Philippines not out-staging our neighbors in luring foreign investments?

    Could it be that coupled with Gibo’s vision on curbing corruption, we also need to up our defense budget and solve once and for all our peace and order problems? A strong state presence that goes along with sound economic policies, is the answer to poverty.

    • J.B. says:

      Gibo has very good combination of seemingly clean image plus the intellect. I have little doubt then that he can do something about it.

    • Hyden Toro says:

      Corruption is in the genomes and DNAs of the Filipinos. There is no way to eradicate corruption. Neither Gibo, Noynoy Aquino, Boy Abundia, Kris Aquino, etc…can eradicate corruption. You have to fumigate and change the genes and the DNAs of every Filipino officials and employees; private or government.With apologies to those who are really honest. But, these are just a few.

      Sometimes, it takes the total eradication of a bad seed. To make the fruit of the tree sweet again.
      Maybe someday, they will find a way to fumigate and change bad genes and DNAs. It is Science Fiction. However, we don’t know if that imbecile:Noynoy Aquino knows about Science Fiction. It just shows his being ignoramus, by talking nonsense. The more he talks, the more nonsense comes from his mouth. This is the reason the Lopez Media protected him, and scraped the Presidential debates. They are selling a PHONY Presidential candidate to us. We got hooked.

  12. J.B. says:

    There is a caveat about our assumptions what will happen in the coming months.

    Fact 1: Mostly mindless people voted Noynoy to power

    Fact 2: Spin doctors were with him during the campaign and “brilliantly” outmanoeuvre competitor

    Fact 3: Mindless people can’t distinguish what corruption really means quantitatively.

    Therefore: The same mindless people will be in constant treat by simple gesture of attack to corrupt practices (e.g. chasing GMA for the whole 6 year period) or overspending practices )e.g. no parade during inauguration).

    Kinda wonder though, how long will the people realize they’re fed with false hopes? Maybe until they realize their lives wont be as good as they were in the days of GMA.

    • bp says:

      no parade but there’s that street party at quezon memorial. haha. reminds me of the roman gladiator games used by the rulers to distract the people. it’s all circus politics with this administration.

  13. helios says:

    i share your sentiments on Philippine corruption, benign0. Filipinos talk about it as if its a tangible “evil” out to ruin the lives of countless Filipinos. although I do believe that corruption is but a symptom of something, what that something is im not entirely sure of. could be a combination of things.

    I do not think that corruption per se is the cause of poverty (debunked by allegations of corruption in rich countries). I think it was bongV who said that for us Filipinos corruption is just a buzzword (well a standard buzzword for every Philippine-make that 3rd world country-election).

    Corruption may sometimes actually help an economy. Corruption may actually provide a loophole for a policy/system that is actually flawed, e.g. business registration, a good entrepreneurial venture might find it hard for its business to take off bec of the difficulty of having his business registered so the individual might just offer bribes in order to expedite his registration (pardon the crudeness of my example). So corruption in this sense may actually be good, although it does beg the question that this practice encourages more of it.

    I remember a friend telling me that she finds corruption offensive…. Ive pondered on this and asked myself if corruption offends me. It doesn’t (shame on me) but I do find poverty offensive….

    • J.B. says:

      CDQ before had a very good point about comparing corruption in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian states.

      A corrupt Filipino will hide his wealth overseas e.g. Marcos ill-gotten, Mikey Arroyo mansion in California.

      A corrupt south-east asian neighbours e.g. Suharto, kept most of the monies at home, hence generating jobs.

      • miriam quiamco says:

        Come on there is no basis of comparison to the thievery of Marcos to that of Mikey Arroyo who bught “mansion” in California, I saw thoe houses that he bought on pictures, they are only middle-class homes and in the U.S. a 2 million-dollar home is considered middle-class, not a mansion, the media as usual are exaggerating, no wonder, the people hate the Arroyos.

        Marcoses on the other hand bankrupted the economy, minus ten economic growth, and zero foreign reserves, with their dummy bank accounts in Switzerland to the tune of billions of dollars, and this could be attested by the value of Imelda’s jewels alone, the coinfiscated ones, – 340 million dollars! Jesus, no wonder the Philippines has not been able to recover all these years, whereas our neighbors though just as corrupt have not been able to match this form of thievery. And the Filipino people voted the Marcoses again into power, what kind of a country is this? The Arroyos are just petty thieves compared to the Marcoses, GMA is leaving behind an economic legacy that is hard to put down: 45 billion dollars foregin reserves, a debt ratio that is going down compared to our GDP, strong macroeconomic projects and a steady economic growth. Sure you can say, all because of OFWs, Marcos actually started the idea of OFWs, but still our foreign debt and low reserves devalued the peso so much that the economy simply choked with higher import prices.

        There is no comparison at all between Arroyo and Marcos, the former has done good to the country, the latter debased our institutions through Martial law and pulled the economy down, we are still reeling from it decades later. And yes, that dictator took his wealth outside, unlike in other countries, their elites are nationalistic enough to know they should keep their money in their homeland.

      • J.B. says:

        It was never meant on comparing severity. It was a comparison of where the loot went.

      • ChinoF says:

        Come on there is no basis of comparison to the thievery of Marcos to that of Mikey Arroyo who bught “mansion” in California, I saw thoe houses that he bought on pictures, they are only middle-class homes and in the U.S. a 2 million-dollar home is considered middle-class, not a mansion, the media as usual are exaggerating, no wonder, the people hate the Arroyos.

        People even forget to factor in inflation. For example, if Marcos bought a $300,000 mansion in the 70s, while Arroyo bought a $2 million medium home in 2002, the dumbkopfs will still say Arroyo is more lavish.

        As for Marcos, I believe it was not martial law per se that nailed him, but more of the media suppression and the number of killings and abductions made during his time. Couple that with his cronyist economic policies that really put us down.

  14. Votoms says:

    Promise eradicate corruption? It never happened here. Failed.

  15. benign0 says:

    @ Morga

    He cut the complexity of human nature and the black hole that is Philippine bureaucracy into Nonoy = Good, Zero Corruption and Gloria = Evil, 100% Corruption. He did not leave room for an escape clause. Now his handlers are on damage control, and will probably get the full cooperation of the yellow media.

    Indeed, that’s so unlike the way, say, a weight loss product may “promise” results but always end its pitch with the caveat “combined with the proper diet/exercise regime“. Noynoy was probably so caught up in winning the election that he forgot (or, more likely just outright failed) to consider what happens if he does win.

    But yes, everything’s on record.

    – Failure to come up with a proper platform – 1 peso
    – Painting himself into a corner with moronic promises during the campaign – 5 pesos
    – Watching the intelligentsia take him up on the above two over the next several years – Priceless

    @ ricelander

    I do not quite follow your line of argument. It’s like saying, the sonofabitch stole from me because I did not trust him with the key to my vault.

    The thesis around how a fundamental lack of trust in Pinoy society underpins its inherent predisposition to corruption focuses on how the convoluted check and balances in many processes and approaces to doing things in the Philippines makes the place fertile breeding ground for corruption. Convolusion and complexity creates a market for fixers and those who peddle shortcuts in return for financial compensation — in short, bribery becomes an economically viable cost to businesses and private citizens when seen in the conext of the alternative, which is doing business by the book and sustaining the cost of navigating an unnecessarily draconian or onerous system. Why subject one’s self to that if there is a quick fix or shortcut for X amount of pesos.

    It’s a vicious circle then — a society of people who see each other as someone out to put one over you will apply extra measures to fraud-proof a transaction with the other (at the cost of extra steps and control measures built into said transaction). In my old Trust article, I quoted something Lichauco wrote that captures the essence of what I just said above:

    A nation whose policies and rules are based on the assumption that everybody is a cheat and liar unless proven otherwise cannot long endure. Take a close look at our bureaucracy and its rules. It is burdened by elaborate and often unnecessary checks and balances so that nothing ever gets done in the process.

    And in my book, I make a more precise framework to describe this concept:

    Each of these three examples represents the three key enablers to developing a cohesive and productive society – security, empowerment, and access. Without security there can be no openness. Without empowerment, there can be no efficiency. Without access there can be no simplicity. A society where everything is closed, inefficient, and complicated is fertile breeding ground for corruption.

    Kung baga,

    We need to aspire for a society of people perceive themselves as enjoying a quality of life described fundamentally as:

    – Secure;
    – Empowered; and,
    – Accessible

    … without which components of the system cannot be made:

    – Open (for fear of security breaches and incidences of fraud);
    – Efficient (because unempowered people cannot be given greater responsibility); and,
    – Simple (because a lack of straightforward access makes navigating a system or process necessarily onerous).

    … all of which makes bribery a more appealing option to take for users/patrons of the country’s systems, processes, and institutions.

    It also explains the continued reliance on family networks to get things done and further one’s career. The system fails to present itself as a reliable source of security, empowerment, and accessibility. As a result, Pinoy see their family connections as the only passport to success in our primitive society. Compare that to how individual migrants are able to strike it out on their own in advanced societies with only state facilities (initially) to rely on.

    Opportunity and law enforcement are factors, but they should be seen only as flow-on measures. The underlying core of a truly just and transparent society lies in the very nature of the way things are set-up and the regard for one’s place in the community. That is something that cannot be solved by law enforcement — but only through a really deep understanding of the fundamental rot of the very DNA of Pinoy society — its culture.

    All roads ultimately lead to it. 😀

    It is consistent to that insightful question Mr helios proposes that the Pinoy ask him/herself:

    Does corruption offend us?

    Mr helios is on the right track as he elaborates thus:

    Corruption may sometimes actually help an economy. Corruption may actually provide a loophole for a policy/system that is actually flawed, e.g. business registration, a good entrepreneurial venture might find it hard for its business to take off bec of the difficulty of having his business registered so the individual might just offer bribes in order to expedite his registration (pardon the crudeness of my example). So corruption in this sense may actually be good, although it does beg the question that this practice encourages more of it.

    I agree when we consider the quality of the sort of corruption seen in the Philippines, which is of a form that even in its criminal nature fails to meet the standards of organised criminality. So even in taking the same regard that helios sees it, Pinoy-style corruption is THIRD-RATE by the standards of the endemically corrupt. This counter-intuitive idea is something I explore in an old FV article of mine, The elegant beauty of corruption, where I write:

    Even in the business of corruption, Filipinos are third-rate.

    Although the Philippines ranks way up there along with Angola in the business of corruption, we are not exactly famous for turning criminal activity into a world-class management “science” the way the Italian, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese mobs have. Where there is “science” and structure, there is stability and predictability. And guess what, stability and predictability happen to be music to the ears of people we need the most: investors.

    Our talent for shortsightedness extends beyond our efforts at legitimacy and well into our culture of crime!

    Investors, on the other hand, are forward-looking and as a matter of habit routinely assess a prospect’s risk outlook. Corruption is merely another parameter used to assess risk. And wherever there are unpredictable and volatile parameters, risk goes up and the sex appeal of the investment prospect goes down.

    This is actually a sort of “Plan B” to the likely scenario that any moronic initiative to “eradicate” corruption will simply fall flat on its face every time.

    If we cannot eradicate corruption, then at least we should stabilise it so that business can incorporate it into their operating model and cost structure as a managed risk.

    Risk Management 101 there. 🙂

  16. kid dynamo says:

    Can’t tell them they were not forewarned, PNoy obviously used that “walang corrupt, walang mahirap” mantra just to be catchy to the masses and get their votes. Much like the “Erap walang mahirap” thingy.
    Alam niyo naman sa atin konting rhyme, konting showbiz, ayos na ang butu-buto.

    Its obvious from the start that such a task is near impossible given the current condition we are in that corruption has so become prevalent that it has become a way of life, or even a culture of its own. Minsan i have this twisted thought that this is kind of a genetic disease that it is already imprinted to a vast majority ot the people.

    Oversimplified mantras wont work, they just can’t, we are not yet starting to mention that the very person advocating this is below par compared to his father and contemporaries.

    You have a very terminal disease ailing your body and to cure this illness your are entrusted to an inexperienced, incompetent and indicisive doctor……BAD NEWS BOK……

    Well there’s always ABS-CBN, Monsod, de Quiros, Margallo, Manuel Quezon III, and legions upon legions of yellow army media personalities to always paint a good Pnoy amidst the failings and incompetence. It up to the public if then they will still buy crap or finally realize that they made the wrong choice.

    I very much doubt they would admit mistake though, after all we are in the Philippines where people find no shortage of supply of people to blame execpt for themselves.

    “Democracy is a process by which people elect a person to blame”

    only in the Pilipins……

  17. benign0 says:

    This is a real first (ok, maybe second — the first being Erap 😀 ). Usually it takes several months before one sees any sign of people having second thoughts or even expressing a slight hint of regret over who they voted for.

    But in Noynoy’s case, unease over what had just happened — a guy like Noynoy being voted to the top post of the land — is becoming quite palpable. The irony there is that this unease is most evident amongst his staunchest and most public supporters — evident in the way they step up to defend even his most inane posturings and most lame verbal diarrhea.

    Tsk tsk.

    All together now:

    Kahol ng Bayan

    Marahil nga na nakakabagot
    Ang mga suliranin ng ‘sang Lipunang
    Sa kabiguan lamang nauuwi
    Mula munting pakitang-taong ambag
    Hangga’t sa mula pusong alay na palag.

    Makabuluhang resulta’y di inaasam
    Sa mga kilusang kinakamkam
    Bagama’t punto ng pag-alsa
    Kahit pinuno’y di alam
    Basta’t “sugod” ang kanyang damdam.

    Ngunit saysay ng sigaw di malaan
    Pagka’t kailan ma’y walang nakamit
    Na pag-unawa sa pinagmulang prinsipyong
    Makabuluhan kung mayroon man.

    Sa mga susunod na kabanata
    Ng kasaysayan ng bansa
    Ang paglitis ng madla
    Di magtutugma sa iba
    Kundi sa malinaw na pangamba:

    Pinoy nga naman talaga,
    Parang aso umasta
    Matangkad lang kapag naka-upo
    Sa tawag ng amo lang tatayo.

    [Dedicated to the Filipino “Revolutionary”
    by benign0, Lyricist Extraordinaire]

    The popularity of an idea is never a good indicator of its validity.

  18. ricelander says:

    I understand you’re coming from another angle.

    Well, corruption is a symptom not the disease. You confuse the symptom with the true cause, try all sorts of rules and regulation, you’re just suppressing the symptom. Like treating a headache with analgesic or pain-reliever when it’s tumor inside causing the pain.

    • benign0 says:

      As the Bisolvon commercial asserts: “You need a cure that works at the source of the cough – phlegm.” Or something to that effect. 🙂

  19. ulong pare says:

    … daaang

    … will a presidency bankrolled by corrupt cojuangcos tackle corruption????

    … will a retard cojuangco gung gong prez deal with corruption????

    … ay sus ginoo… flips, puro kayo mga gung gongs… :mrgreen:

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      You know, you are right, I read somewhere that Tony Boy Cojuangco alone gave 100 million pesos to N/A’s campaign, what for, I suppose to make sure he would become president, so he could prevent the lifting of TRO on Hacienda Luisita while president. This was necessary until all land had been mortgaged to banks, making the farmers at a losing end. From what I read, the hacienda has been piece by piece used as collateral to loans obtained by the Cojuangcos. This needs investigation, how could land under contention be mortgaged, or how could the major stockholders not inform the 30% so called owners, the tenants of their mortgages. Again, the media should do more investigative reporting on this.

      • ricelander says:

        Hacienda Luisita. I think Abe Magallo pretty much expresses the sentiment of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan on this matter: Hacienda Luisita is a black propaganda rejected by the people in the elections. http://filipinovoices.com/noynoy-aquino-a-modern-liberal/comment-page-1#comment-192920

      • Morga says:

        That only shows you Abe Margallo is a knucklehead like most everyone in Filipino Voices. He thinks if 40% voted for Noynoy despite the skeletons in Hacienda Luisita, then the skeletons don’t exist. This beats the logic of a two-year-old child. Margallo is too retarded to see Aquino won because there are simply too many empty heads in this country outnumbering those whose brains actually function.

      • Jon Abaca says:

        Isn’t popularity a horrible standard for right and wrong?

      • ChinoF says:

        Shows you how bootlickers know how to blind themselves to the truth. Makes one’s blood boil.

      • benign0 says:

        I think we give too much credit to Margallo by calling him a bootlicker. I think he’s simply one who has a mind too small as to be easily imprisoned by the formal education credentials from which he derives much of his personal validation. 😀

      • miriam quiamco says:

        Very well said about Abe Margallo, BenignO. Would love to tune in to Sento tonight, but I think I need to go and do some yoga.

  20. Arnel E says:

    While Aquino is against corruption by Arroyo, he is silent on corruption by Estrada. I wonder how that translates to a real anti-corruption platform. Perhaps he uses the platform just to win the elections, which btw, can be considered corruption in itself.

    • shadowbroker says:

      now remember, corruption in this country is dictated by perception and entity. They never read into how it is formed and the cyclical consequences it produces in the system. As was mentioned in an article awhile back how the Yellow Campaign attacked Villar (an obvious choice) and to a lesser extent, Legarda but left Erap and Binay alone since the campaigners have their own agenda. And with that left Roxas in the dark.

    • J.B. says:


      If I remember right, Cory made an unholy alliance of Erap in calling GMA to step down.

      Noynoy can’t simply turn back from his parents.

    • ChinoF says:

      Such classic hypocrisy. Calling one case of corruption the greatest ever, while turning a blind eye to another, more glaring example.

    • sarcasmgasm says:

      nah, i’m pretty sure he is competent enough to deal with it like how his fans are ravin’ about. 🙄

      oh wait…

      puppets only do as they’re told really. 😆

    • ulong pare says:

      … daaang

      … during santa ate corakot presidency, corruption grew ten folds…

      … remember the ‘sang tambaks na coup-coup- ku-ku de taes? :mrgreen:

      … will the new minted prez gung gong do something about it?

      … hay naku mga flips, puro kayo gung gongs… magsama sama kayo sa basurahan…

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