MY ETHICS professor once said graft and corruption is characterized by surrendering the public interests to private aims and violations of those entrusted to run the government. They become normal, norms of duty, and regular in civic affairs. This is accompanied by secrecy, betrayal, deception and a callous disregard of common welfare. It could be in a form of bribery, extortion and even nepotism. It is an unethical and immoral act of misuse and abuse of public trust.
It seems that “graft and corruption” has been the theme of political activities in this country. Since the time of partisan politics, graft and corruption became a twin concept with partisanship and the right to suffrage. Looking back at our beautiful history, the election of the leaders of the Katipunan was already coupled with graft and corruption. While the rebel soldiers were guarding the barracks and upholding Philippine independence, some of their leaders were having partnerships with the foreign imperialists. This was one of the reasons why most of the rebellions in early history failed. This was due to the collaboration of many leaders with the “enemies.” They were either bribed or bought by these “enemies.”
If we go earlier in history, one could see corruption already practiced by our ancestors. The family gives their daughter to one who could give the priceless dowry. Dowry is a gift given usually to the girl’s family to ask for a hand in marriage. So, Graft and corruption had been with us and with our system.
A social science professor told me once that graft and corruption could be erased only if we choose the right leaders. I thought of what he told me and asked my comical mind, who are the right leaders? Do we see them in our lifetime? Or maybe they are just in the pages of public administration books?
Graft and corruption is already in the Filipino psyche. It is embedded in our system. It started when we were small. To keep us from not crying much, our parents bribed us with milk or food. We kept quiet. As we grow older, the teacher in school awarded those who are good and cooperative and gave lower grades to those who were critical and rational yet we kept quiet. We gave our teachers gifts or invited them for lunch or dinner in exchange for a few points and yet we kept quiet. We brought gifts or a little something to the office and the boss, in exchange for good accommodation and yet we kept quiet. We went out and hung out with the top brass of the company to get a promotion or the desired positions and yet we kept quiet. We knew we were being used for the personal interest of others still we kept quiet. There are a lot of things that we have done that contributed to the flourishing of graft and corruption in this country. Now, we talk about graft and corruption, as if they are alien to us.
We had heard a lot of speakers defining and explaining, or even elucidating and enlightening us of what this evil is all about. There are many beautiful suggestions and thoughts about it. This coming 2022 elections, if there will be one, again graft and corruption becomes the central focus of political talks. Even as early as today, one could already hear or read something about this. (See, by writing this article, I am also infected by this virus).
Graft and corruption will become a platform for a lot of politicians. These will be their springboard. We will surely hear their promises of erasing graft and corruption in society as in 2016. Remember, the promises of Digong. These are all nailed to the wall and buried in the ground. I am already tired of listening to these topics, I hope our new breed of “politicians” becomes innovative and talks about good governance instead of this cliché.
Let us talk about how we could transform society in our own little ways. Let us not go with the current flow of talking about graft and corruption. This is only for those who have nothing to say.