SECTIONS
Monday, August 26, 2019

Seares: Lighter penalty for the corrupt?

IT must not have been lost to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte watchers, critics or fans. His warning hurled to the corrupt in government is merely this: 1) Demotion when first caught. 2) Humiliation in public.

He announced that in his speech before Cebuanos celebrating his victory last June 25 in Cebu City.

Wonder how it's done. A lowering or stripping of rank on the spot? Not if Professional Regulation Commission's rules are applied, especially if they are civil service eligible. To be sure, he can do that to his appointees but not to career people in the bureaucracy.

How about charges before the ombudsman, which can lead to suspension or dismissal but Duterte didn't mention. Reforms that speed up the machinery of justice will be a lot more efficient.

On humiliating the offender upon being caught, it's doubtful if the law allows it. Even after conviction, penalties don't include parading on public streets the corrupt with the placard "I am a thief" around his neck; that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

The corrupt who stole or would steal millions of pesos from government: Would Duterte use the influence of his mission of "real change" to go after erring high officials and legislators who still have to be indicted or tried? People haven't heard of plans to radically improve the justice apparatus.

Only talk of spilling blood and choosing the least expensive way to execute a convict. Why not plan to make crime detection superior and legal punishment swift?

Pile of corpses

Which brings us to the question why other criminals accused of high crimes aren't as seriously threatened with death as the drug dealers, how come the pile of corpses in police "clashes" since he won the election don't include anyone who looted public coffers.

Sharp disproportion in the new government's intensity in targeting drug lords and the comparatively less heat against corrupt officials must puzzle many of us.

(paseares@gmail.com)
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