Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Big and Small of Things

Obviously irked by the World Bank report on the country's state of corruption, the administration's officials and allies were quick to defend the executive. Of course they would blame none other than the national scapegoat, former Pres. Erap Estrada. I must admit though that my perception of Erap is not that immaculate but we must take into consideration the corruption scandals that has hit GMA's administration.

As far as I can recall, only the small fries have been caught although they charged a fairly big fish from the DPWH, it still doesn't cut it. The big ones who have been exposed have yet to face the music. Whatever happened to the Nani Perez case? And who wouldn't know about the Bolante fiasco? They have been trying to nail Erap with the IMPSA deal, but we all know that it was at the start of her term when this was finally signed. Perez was forced to duck the limelight and has been in cold storage ever since. Accusations of a $2 million bribe had been quietly swept under the rug even if evidences point to money changing hands.

The Jose Pidal episode continues to hound GMA and her family. The Jueteng Gate even with several witnesses bribed into silence is still there. The alleged overpricing of the Northrail Project is even included in the charges lodged against her in the impeachment. But the biggest scandal to hit this administration is the Fertilizer Scam which has made a fugitive out of Joc-Joc Bolante and even landed him in jail (in the US, not here unfortunately). Even with the supporting report of the Commission on Audit, the administration has managed to evade the issue. The latest is the allegation that the first family has money stashed abroad.

These cases are too glaring to be overlooked by the world's biggest lender, the World Bank. For sure they have been closely monitoring these scandals. To cry foul regarding the country's rating is absurd. The Presidential Anti Graft Commission headed by de Guzman has yet to move its ass on these cases. I couldn't blame Simeon Marcelo for just packing up and leave his post. Its very taxing to run after crooks who are being cuddled by those who rein power. Even if the Ombudsman would want to do his job, strong opposition and pressure is what faces him in actually performing and fulfilling his job.

If the administration wants to change this perception, all it has to do is to face all these allegations and answer them squarely. But of course we all know that is political suicide for the incumbent. This regime reeks of corruption from top to bottom. International perception is hard to change especially when even the locals see it the same way. A culture of corruption has been nurtured by the highest offices of the land. While the small fish are fried the big fishes still swim freely in this pond of corruption. They may be safe for now but they will have to face the music sometime.