08 June 2009

77% Say Anti-Corruption Efforts Ineffective

Transparency International’s 2009 Global Corruption Barometer Survey
Results of Transparency International’s 2009 Global Corruption Barometer survey is now out and the figures are not an encouraging sign for the present administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Results showed that 77 percent of Filipinos believe that the Philippine government’s efforts to fight corruption are ineffective. Only 21 percent believe that the government’s actions against graft are effective, while only two percent say "neither."

In the Asia Pacific region, the Philippines ranked second worst in terms of how effectively Filipinos believe their government is fighting corruption. The worst was South Korea with 81 percent of its survey respondents saying that the government has been ineffective in battling graft.

Following the Philippines in the list of worst to best is Japan, with 68 percent saying their government’s actions against corruption are ineffective; Malaysia, 67 percent; Thailand, 65 percent; Pakistan, 51 percent; India, 45 percent; Cambodia, 28 percent; Indonesia, 19 percent; Brunei Darussalam, 17 percent; Hong Kong, 12 percent; and Singapore with only four percent.

So how does Filipinos feel about this? Self-pity? Many would think so, but anger would be more likely. Why? Ordinary Filipinos are losing their jobs, homes and families in the current economic crisis so any negative reports from international body about the work done by the current useless and arrogant administration will only add insult to injury.

As expected, Malacañang lackeys, like the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), are quick to dismiss the report. In a typical apologist fashion they are not blaming the overpaid and overweight louts sitting in Malacañang or in Congress - or their irresponsible relatives sitting in the bar abroad at the expense of taxpayer's money - but rather the "inaccuracy" of the whole survey.

OMB even endorsed another set of data contradicting the ones released by Transparency International. In a press release, OMB considers the 2009 corruption report made by Political and Economic Risk Consultancy’s (PERC) survey to be more accurate and up-to-date since it was more recent than that of Transparency International.

According to PERC, the country's rating (0 to 10 as worst) improved from 9 in 2008 to 7 in 2009. A 4 to 7 rating indicates a moderate level of corruption, while a grade greater than 7 means a "serious" corruption problem exists.

Does anybody from OMB willing to bet if their endorsement of a PERC report made more people feel better than before? Maybe they thought that just because PERC is less cruel than Transparency International more Filipinos will not anymore wish for their heads on a silver platter and overlook the fact that the ordinary worker's retirement compensation, is quite disgracefully and inexplicably less than those pencil-pushing, overweight and lazy government executives and lawmakers.

More importantly, OMB conveniently and deliberately omitted the fact that the two survey reports were conducted using different set of target population. The PERC March results were based on more than 1,700 responses from 14 Asian economies plus Australia and the United States, while the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer is a public opinion survey with more than 73,000 respondents drawn from 69 countries and territories around the world. Based on these numbers, whose perception do you think should be given more weight by the OMB?

This dismissive concern from the OMB is strikingly very similar to the disinterested inaction which emanates from Malacañang whenever First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is being implicated to anomalies and controversies. It seems that their concern for the international image of the country far outweighs the search for the millions of pesos lost as a result of the ZTE deal, questionable use of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds, Jose Pidal secret bank accounts, illegal importation of rice by an alleged Indian friend of the First Family, the mind-blowing US$ 20,000 a night stay by Malacañang officals at the MGM Grand Villa in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2005, the never-ending jueteng protection money and the alleged existence of multi-million dollar German bank account. Considering the amount involved in all of these cases, it does not seem right for the OMB to spend their precious time endorsing any report just to get in the good graces of the President.