Who are the victims of corrupt practices? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 November 2014 14:20

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

It has become a truism that one picture says  more than a thousand words. This was excellently demonstrated in the front page photo showing former senator Rodolfo Biazon punching a hole in the hollow block wall of a house being built as dwelling for September 9 evacuees in their relocation site.

Doing projects in a substandard manner is not anything  that is new in our country. It is one of the most common practices  of corruption in the Philippines. What can be behind this approach towards how we do  things?  There can be several reasons but the one that comes up very quickly is the push to make the most profit for the least effort.

And this is particularly true when doing business with the government, or should we say, when the government is the customer.

I remember many years ago about an incident involving the inauguration of a bridge in one of the provinces in Mindanao. There was the usual hoopla of words extolling the economic benefits that the bridge would generate and then the   ribbon cutting. When this was done the first vehicle was waved across the bridge. Lo and behold, the bridge then gave way. I don’t remember if anyone went to jail for this but I doubt it.

In a transaction where the housing paid for out of government funds turn out to be severely substandard, who has been cheated?  Perhaps the government,  because it provided the funds. But to be  honest about it, ultimately the victims are the citizens who are the targeted users of these houses. They have been made victims by a calamity – the Sept 9 attack or the Bohol earthquake or the Yolanda disaster – and they are made victims yet again.

This is what makes corruption so sad and so vile. Should we let these corrupt people get away with what they have done?  Most certainly not.

While the records are still fresh and available people responsible should be identified, made accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Corruption in the Philippines  continues to thrive because (1)  the procedures make corruption  rather easy to carry out  (2) those who carry out  the corrupt practices are not charged at all  or (3)  if charged,  easily defend themselves  out  of the charges.

The first crime for which Janet Napoles was indicted was for the supply of fake Kevlar vests  to our soldiers. She was indicted but absolved of any crime by a Sandigan justice. (I bet you can’t even remember his name.) But, did any soldier die because he was not provided the expected protection that the fake Kevlar vest  was supposed to provide?  Who should answer for the death of this soldier or soldiers?

Corrupt practices are carried out by people who have the means to stay out of jail. But what about the victims of these corrupt practices? They have names but we will never know them, unless they are friends or relatives.