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Of gifts, omission and commission | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

THE last three years of the Duterte administration is the most is noteworthy however that he has the leadership of the legislative department on his side because the achievement of his political and development agenda would depend largely on the lawmakers and the members of the cabinet. 
The President has dismissed a number of officials linked to graft and corruption in the first half of his presidency but he should brace himself with more thieves that would come to ransack the nation’s coffers past midnight.
Addressing corruption does not end with mere dismissal of the culprits. The reason why there seems to be no end in curbing malfeasance in government is the absence of prosecution and conviction. There is a weak link somewhere that emboldens the hoods to dip their fingers in the cookie jar. We all witnessed the frustration of the President. When he summoned the Fates for the ultimate earthquake magnitude to take place right in the middle of the big dome of the Barasang Pambansa what happened was a burst of thunderous laughter. It was a hyperbole in fact as he is wont to do, and it was not meant to humor anyone. In case they are not aware of it yet, it was meant to drive a shaft into the thick hides of officials who still cling like barnacles in such agencies like the Department of Health, PCSO, BIR, BOC, MWSS and those outside the Batasan plenary hall among them the local government units, the religious bigots and rebels who are not aware their ideology had become irrelevant.
In cathechism, we are taught that there are two kinds of sins: venial and mortal. There are two in government: the sin of omission and the sin of commission. The Marcoses were accused by domestic and western media for demanding 10% commission. In the US, however, firms and interest groups would set-aside a huge sum of money either to deter and derail or approve a proposed legislation. They call it lobby money or “grease” moolah. And it is legit. When Marcos was kicked out Cory Aquino took over and the Americans taught her what lobby money is. Benigno III must have been listening. Both learned a lot and became President with the help of mother America and funeral dirge. They say that history will judge what men and nation did. The Aquino administrations institutionalized corruption in the country and while Marcos is guilty of the sins of commission the Aquinos improved on that and worse, we never had leaders so guilty of the sin of omission than the duo.
Rodrigo Duterte on gifts -- Three weeks after he was sworn into office as Mayor of Davao City, he was invited to be guest of honor and speaker of a newly organized all-women Downtown Rotary Club. He came a bit too early for the occasion so he proceeded to a coffee shop adjacent to the venue. In the coffee shop were members of the City Council who were likewise invited by the Club. Duterte approached them and with a serious mien pointed at them. “Maayo kay ni-a mo”. (Good that you are here)_ “I am submitting my resignation tomorrow and I want you to submit yours. Let us give Davao City a fresh start. Mga yawa mo (You satans)! You go to my house and see very few appliances there. Most of those are gifts from friends and grateful people I helped. But you? You had the gall to go to Manila and demanded from San Miguel ₱2.5-million each in exchange for your votes to allow them to put up their brewery plant in Toril?
Cooler heads intervened to pacify the seething Mayor. It turned out, some members of the city council flew to Manila and demanded from San Miguel the huge sum to approve the firm plan for a brewery. Obviously this did not set well with management so they put up the brewery (biggest outside of Metro Manila) in Sta. Cruz, the next town south of Davao City instead. Duterte, the neophyte Mayor, wanted to know the reason why and was shocked when told by management the brutal and ugly truth. By choice I have omitted the names of those involved since all of them have gone to the great beyond.
Here you see the distinction between gifts arrising from gratitude and friendship and those that are demanded and extorted. The latter are entirely another story and partake of graft and corruption.

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.