18 November 2009

Corruption Inside the Anti-Graft Agency?

PAGC Building
It seems that the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) head, Constancia De Guzman, has found a way to get a small sense of support after she appeared in front of reporters, teary-eyed, while asking for forgiveness in hiring close relatives to the agency. Addressing the public, De Guzman apologized for what she called insensitivity on her part to the public perception that she is guilty of favoritism, but insisted that she is not guilty of nepotism or graft and corruption.

It's amazing how a head of an anti-graft body can easily dismiss her action as above board after admitting that she hired her son, nephew and her son's girlfriend in PAGC. Her son is her confidential executive assistance and her nephew a confidential technical assistant. Maybe while she's at this, she should also consider a confidential driver, secretary and clerk.

Her son's girlfriend, on the other, was recommended to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and appointed as PAGC’s executive director. Aren’t everyone glad to know that there is another way to get a juicy post in government aside from paying your way up?

The admission came in the heels of a newspaper expose that identified the son as Reindl and the nephew as Aries Posadas. Maybe the threat of an impending investigation convinced de Guzman to ditch puerile political correctness and mitigate the damage. At any other time and if nobody from the press reports such irregularity, the PAGC management would not be breathlessly bleating about the alleged corruption within the agency.

De Guzman insists that she did not violate the law because the three persons close to her are covered by the exemption on confidential positions, which is provided for under the Administrative Code of 1987.

“This is also the reason why the commissioners in PAGC were allowed to hire their children, nephews, relatives or friends for as long as they are trustworthy and competent. Many of you might know that this is also a common practice in many government institutions to address the need for total trust and to protect sensitive information,” she added.

These people are really amazing. It is understandable to hire a relative to serve as an executive assistant, but if they think they also need to hire a nephew and a son’s girlfriend to run the agency, then why not just bloody resign from the post and let another one who does not require those people run it. Aside from savings generated from the salaries, it will not demoralize the leading anti-graft body.