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Philippines ‘corrupt’ police defended by government official

Force identified by international survey as country’s most corrupt sector

Gulf News

Manila: A senior official defended the national police which was identified by Berlin-based Transparency International as Philippine government’s most corrupt sector.

“I know for a fact that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has done a lot of reforms. I am sure that General Alan Purisima [head of the National Police Commission] will push for greater reforms in the police,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

“For those institutions [in the Philippines] that were identified as somewhat corrupt or most corrupt [in the survey], will have to make some improvements,” Lacierda said.

When asked to identify corruption in Philippine government, policemen were cited by 69 per cent of more than 1,000 Filipino respondents in a survey done by Transparency International on a total of 114,000 respondents from more than 100 countries.

Civil servants, were cited as corrupt by 64 per cent of the Filipino respondents; political parties, by 58 per cent; judges, by 56 per cent; law makers of the two houses of Congress, by 52 per cent, according to TI’s global survey.

When asked to assess the problem of corruption in their government, 64 per cent said it is a serious problem; 19 per cent said it is a problem; 12 percent said it is a light problem; three per cent said it is not really a problem; and two per cent said it is not a problem at all.

19 per cent of the respondents admitted having bribed policemen.

When asked about the public sector’s capacity to fight corruption in the Philippines, 31 per cent said it is neither effective nor ineffective; 30 per cent said it is effective; and 19 per cent said it is ineffective.

When asked to assess results of eradicating corruption in Philippine government, 35 per cent of the Filipino respondents said it has decreased a little for the past two years; two per cent said it decreased a lot; 31 per cent said it remained the same; 12 per cent said it has increased; and 19 per cent said it has increased a lot.

Citing signs that corruption is back in government, Rigoberto Tiglao, columnist of the Manila Times, a paper critical of President Aquino, noted that smuggling and illegal gambling are proliferating nationwide.

Budgets allotted to the Ombdusman and the Sandignbayan, an anti-graft court, remained low, preventing them to convict corrupt government officials, explained Tiglao.

Pointing out the culprits that have marred Aquino’s effort to fight corruption, the editorial page of Manila Standard Today said: “Indeed the fight has been uneven and sporadic, with the [presidential] palace pursuing some personalities and letting others get away with a slap on the wrist.”

“Some institutions are also introducing cosmetic reform - the Philippine National Police, for instance, is adopting new uniforms to improve its image,” said the same paper.

“A good anti-corruption programme would target anybody who does wrong, whether he or she is a political rival, an ally, or a personal friend of the president,” the paper preached.

When Aquino campaigned for the presidency in 2010, he promised reforms and vowed to fight corruption.