NOYNOY Aquino, speaking at a forum for presidential candidates last Tuesday, meant those who "use and abuse the law to coddle favorites or extort from the vulnerable," smugglers and tax evaders, kidnappers and bank robbers.

"With your help, we will take them out," the LP aspirant said.

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Noynoy was trying to persuade members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI) to support him and not any of the other guys racing for the Palace seat.

Corruption makes a terrific public issue. It's big to voters whom the contenders were addressing, not just the business leaders at the forum.

But Noynoy had no specifics. With what little time he had, he could've told us why he'd succeed better than his competition.

He said he'd give sanctuary to whistleblowers. But clergy and members of civil society can provide that if the state can't or won't. It's not the problem.

Here's the problem: The corrupt have the capacity to influence law enforcers, prosecutors, judges, jailers and other public officials who make bureaucracy move.

You can't horsewhip the corrupt or even just send them to jail: A gauntlet of due process and legal obstacles, aside from bribe money, protects the breed.

Not cowed

Those in the audience or watching TV who probably are among those Noynoy would take out (because they are tax evaders, smugglers, or the favorites coddled) were not cowed and few were impressed.

Let the candidate who has a workable solution against corruption speak up. We need more than the posturing from a succession of presidents and wannabes.

Take them out, as if the corrupt could just be plucked out like weeds? Come on.

(paseares@yahoo.com)