Vice President Leni Robredo (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – Vice President Leni Robredo's first executive order if ever she gets elected as president is a full disclosure policy in order to promote greater transparency in public service.

During the second installment of the Commission on Elections' PiliPinas Debates 2022, Robredo said her first EO would require all government offices and instrumentalities to make public all their transactions and contracts "even without need of request from anyone".

She pointed out that transparency is one of the key elements to combat corruption, which, she said, is a result of both institutional and individual weaknesses. The other elements are accountability and people empowerment.

"Merong tatlong pangangailangan para siguraduhin natin na napipilitan, 'yung sistema napipilitan niya ang public officials para maging matino at mahusay. 'Yung number one, accountability. Gaya nung sinabi ni Senator Manny (Pacquiao), dapat 'yung nagkakasala napaparusahan. Pero equally important and even more important 'yung transparency at people empowerment kasi eto 'yung magp-prevent for public officials na gumawa ng mali 'pag very transparent ang ating processes (As what Senator Manny said, those found guilty of wrongdoings should be prosecuted. But equally important and even more important is transparency and people empowerment because these would prevent public officials to do wrong)," she said.

She also highlighted other instruments for transparency, such as creating a citizen's charter and digitizing government services and processes to improve public service delivery.

"Another instrument for transparency 'yung paggagawa ng citizens charter, na sinasabi natin, alam ng tao kung anong aasahan niya sa pamahalaan pagdating sa mga proseso, (at) 'yung pag-digitize ng lahat ng proseso para minimal 'yung human contact (Another instrument for transparency is the citizen's charter. Through this, the public would know what they would expect in terms of processes and the digitization of all processes for minimal human contact)," she said.

As for people empowerment, she stressed the need to involve the public in decision-making through the creation of people's councils in local governments, as well as the revival of the bottom-up budgeting scheme.

Law prohibiting turncoatism

Robredo said there is a need to pass a law banning political turncoatism in order to strengthen the political party system in the country.

Turncoatism, or jumping from one political party to another, weakens the country's political party system, as some politicians only use parties for "political convenience", she said.

"Ang nakikita natin na 'yung mga kandidato ngayon, 'yung mga tumatakbo hindi na tinitignan kung ano 'yung mga pinaglalaban ng partido nila. Parating convenience na lang, political convenience 'yung sinusunod. Habang ina-allow natin 'yung turncoatism, habang ina-allow natin 'yung palipat-lipat ng partido, hindi natin maasahan na lalakas 'yung mga political parties kasi pwede siya i-dispose at anytime (Candidates these days no longer look for what the party stands for; [they join] only for political convenience. We cannot expect a strong political party if we allow turncoatism and political butterflies because it can be disposed at anytime)," Robredo said.

She said a law prohibiting turncoatism would compel politicians to join parties because they share the same political ideas and platforms.

Robredo also said it was time to discuss whether to retain the current multi-party system in the country or revive the two-party system.

"Pero ang pinaka-punto ko lang, panahon na para debatihan ulit ito para tignan natin ano ba talaga 'yung pinaka-akma para sa atin (It is time to talk about this and see what suits best for us)," she said.

She suggested the idea of holding a runoff election, or a second election that is held if the top vote-getting candidate in a first election did not achieve the minimum percentage of votes required in that particular area.

"Kinakailangan ba natin magkaroon ng run-off elections gaya ng ibang lugar? Dahil sa ilang presidential elections na, minority president ang laging nahahalal dahil napakaraming kandidato (Do we need run-off elections? In past presidential elections, a minority president gets elected because there are too many candidates)," she said. (PNA)