Correcting corruption-A A +A
I have issues
Thursday, September 5, 2013
SHOULD corruption be punishable by death?
Under Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt practices act the maximum penalty for those convicted of crimes listed under corruption is at most 10 years of imprisonment, seems pretty heavy enough doesn’t it? Not only that the additional penalties of public officials convicted of this crime will be banned from running or occupying any future position thereafter.
Of course in a level headed sense the penalties of this magnitude should be enough to dissuade corrupt practices from happening right? But in the latest Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International (CPI) the Philippines currently ranks 105th out of 176, a figure of course of relative progress, but still isn’t enough to erase concerns of how deeply rooted corruption problems are within the country.
So why wouldn’t increased levels of punishment not allow us greater effect of curbing corruption? This is to say, if we impose the highest form of punishment we can ever conceive, then certainly, death seems the most appropriate message to be sent, why shouldn’t it be? If we believe corruption to be the greatest source of evil this country has yet able to completely vanquish?
If we believe it has pedaled crooks and thieves to access the people’s money, if it has allowed for the slow and brutal murder of many millions through starving them off access to good healthcare, to proper education, to good roads, to good programs. There is a place in hell for corrupt officials, but should we let hell wait while they service themselves only 10 years here in prisons?
But it seems to be too convenient an assumption to make that we could hammer our way through defeating corruption, the heads of rapists didn’t roll when Echegaray faced lethal injection, we still saw a surge of crimes being committed, and the fear of death, one that too many seems compelling enough has never quite compelled even the crimes it sought to punish before.
Because the Philippine Justice system’s greatest foe right now is its ability to prosecute even the simplest crimes with efficiency, we suffer one of the lowest conviction rates of any country, and even despite lauded improvements still only bolster a 16.72 percent conviction rate based from the Ombudsman’s records.
So while there is some reason to saying the politicians who steal from the people’s coffers deserve the chains of death itself, we should find ourselves asking whether we are getting any justice at all, as the head of Janet Napoles is about to roll in this PDAF scam, I wonder if we will see bigger heads of say, Senators or Congressmen start getting there mug shots taken too. Maybe corruption isn’t punishable by death, but there certainly is a special place in hell for these people.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 05, 2013.