Strike one and you’re out PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 May 2017 10:30

Remedios F. Marmoleño

I  strongly believe in the rule of law, in the compliance with due process where a person’s honor and  integrity (and sometimes  even life)   are at stake. I also believe it is the duty of the state to protect the interest of the public where the law is simply casually observed.

It has become a part of the culture of many of our  public officials to treat their positions as though holding the position gives them the caveat to do whatever they can get away with, for their gain and profit. To make a list of all cases that can be in this list is to aspire for a monumental study. Let me just mention a few of the latest examples.

The contract between TADECO and the Bureau of Corrections is one example. Even if we don’t delve into the amount of money involved,  for the value of our peso has changed dramatically over the years,   and we simply look into the period of the contract, we see right away that a law was broken. This was not a transaction between two recent bar passers, for sure. So how did this happen? Also, the protagonists in the quarrel that led to this contract being made public are not your ordinary bureaucrats. One is the leader of the House of Representatives and the other is a member himself of this same house. Am sure both of them knew about this contract. Are we supposed to understand that had there been no quarrel there would have been no further question about this contract?

The second recent case is the appointment of a retired general to head the DENR. He  was named  by an AFP accountant as one of those who liberally helped themselves to retirement benefits. If the news is correct, this particular general left the service with about  P100M in retirement benefits. A charge does not mean much until it is proven correct in a court of law. But still, P100M ?

But knowing how slowly the mill of justice grinds in this country, how long will it take to have these two cases resolved judicially?

My suggestion then is  to  apply  a requirement for  government officials whose decisions fall under question. This  is “Strike one and you’re out.”

Will this not go against what I said earlier in this piece? No, for no judgment is made of the public official’s honor or integrity. It simply means that the public official has had questions raised about his/her judgment or competence and that is reason enough for him/her to go work somewhere else outside of government.

This principle should work well as applied to appointed officials. What about elected officials? That is up to the voters. After all, we get the leaders we put in place.