Council for the Restoration of Filipino Values (CRFV) Press Release on National Anti-Corruption Day

POSTED: Friday, December 7th, 2012

ON SUPPORTING ANTI-CORRUPTION

Before everybody celebrates Christmas 2012 (and every year thereafter), it is but timely that we join and support President Aquino’s declaration of December 9 as National Anti-Corruption Day.  This move aims to raise awareness and support for efforts against corruption, hoping to reduce, if not eliminate, the P100-billion taxpayer’s money lost by government in 2011 due to graft and corruption. Apparently, the pronouncement of the President is the country’s response to the call of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which designated this day as International Anti-Corruption Day.

We can safely assume that President Aquino’s advocacy against graft and corruption is motivated by the tragedy of losing a father who fought for freedom in an era marred by graft and corruption. It was graft and corruption that deprived them of living a normal life enjoyed by ordinary families, of celebrating Christmases and birthdays or having meals or watching movies together. It was graft and corruption that forced them to continuously hide from unidentified killers, deal with unidentified men, and trust unidentified allies. It was graft and corruption that caused his father’s arrest, their family’s eventual flight and plight, and ultimately the nation’s lost of a vanguard of truth.

Truth and its exposition is the exact enemy of lie and all manners of its projection. That is why truth appoints leaders in daytime, when everybody can see everything and all transactions are transparent and trustworthy. Lie, on the other hand arranges its orders in the night, even midnight, when things can appear what they are not and distorted images are projected as real. While truth boasts of decency under the scrutiny of light, lie is too ashamed to declare its presence it prefers to hold meetings in the dark. There, where no one can see, lie pretends to believe its cohorts such as malice and greed. But alas, these three, in all their effort to protect and preserve one another are unable to do so in the presence of light, through which their nature of decadence are exposed and destroyed.

Exposition and destruction of graft and corruption besetting the nation is what the Council for the Restoration of Filipino Values (CRFV) has been endeavoring to achieve in its own sphere of influence.  As a corruption prevention unit, CRFV has received the mandate to uncover lies in its various forms lurking in government agencies and the people behind them. However, the steps that it takes can be categorized as developmental and preventive, believing that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure: although as far as its capacities and capabilities as a corruption prevention unit are concerned, it makes sure that it undertakes efforts to assist the Office of the President through the Office of the Ombudsman in its police power to prosecute and bring erring people to the rule of law.

The rule of law, however, in our case as a country emancipating from the clutch of graft and corruption, has yet to prove itself efficient and effective in subjecting the enemies of truth to justice. The rule of law in fact, has to be implemented with utmost conscientiousness and moral uprightness, seeing the wisest of criminals in our nation’s history have always leveraged on it for their protection and evasion. These unscrupulous officials capitalize on such misrule to be silent despite being required to talk or feign sickness as an excuse not to show up in court and then fly and free where their ill-gotten wealth can bring them. This same rule of law is the reason the innocent are sometimes put behind bars and the culprits roam freely in their respective domains where their money can blind, deafen, and harden the hearts of people who protect them.

Thus, along with the call to eradicate graft and corruption, CRFV also advocates the implementation of justice in the land, and by that we mean prosecuting who needs to be prosecuted and exacting punishment upon those who deserve it. By implementing justice we mean prioritizing programs that will bring employment to the poor and the marginalized, from whose sector most petty criminals emerge. By implementing justice we mean providing quality education that will not only raise the intellectual force of the country but will also awaken patriotism, recover morality, and increase the Filipino’s sense of true spirituality. By implementing justice we mean not only engaging in blabbers and grandstanding on controversial issues to campaign for elections, but actively and with all integrity considering the slightest details of our lives as avenues through which we can execute righteousness, dignity, and nobility.

Yes, execution and action are what we need. We have had more than enough talks and discussions about how graft and corruption can be totally eradicated and dispelled in the government, but unless each one assumes his social responsibility to this nation and spiritual responsibility to the Supreme Being, we will end up with nothing but another empty program that prides in paperwork and insubstantial documentation. Unless and until we roll up our sleeves and begin to walk the talk, the declaration of the National Anti-Corruption Day will only add as another event in the calendar, and not another principle that our heart as a nation will adopt and live. We can believe for a Philippines free from graft and corruption, but we must work it out lest our faith be considered dead and amounting to nothing. How to work it out then is the true message that we must all heed. So how do we begin?

We Filipinos actually know what to do and how to do it: we have multi-media to spoon-feed us. As one major TV station puts it, ako ang simula – it all begins in me – and we say that includes the good and the bad. We can start heroism through little acts of kindness and generosity such as sharing our food, clothes, and shelter to victims of disaster, or conversely, begin to become a social menace by hoarding the same. We can become channels of blessing not only through charitable acts but also through graceful language, or become a source of curses by denying our fellowmen the opportunity to succeed or pronouncing negative words at them. We can raise visionaries, dreamers, and leaders of this nation by encouraging their optimism and listening to their ideas, or raise an army of bandits by discouraging them and shutting them off whenever they voice out their aspirations.

Therefore, we can say that the perpetrators of biggest corruption issues in the country such as jueteng payola, Hello Garci, NBN-ZTE deal, and overpriced second-hand helicopters for the Philippine Army, the unabated illegal logging, illegal mining, illegal gambling, trafficking of children and women and other various means of exploitation among others, were once young children whose parents either rejected them or spoiled them to the core. We are bound to believe that as little children, either they had difficulty living up to the standards of their parents, unconsciously forcing them to become achievers through unpopular ways, or the parents they grew up with never had any standard at all. Bottom line, whatever accomplishment they profess to have can only be attributed to the kind of rearing they were exposed to at home. As charity begins at home, so does corruption.

How does corruption at home begin? How far does family influence really go as far as our social conduct is concerned? Although we can’t afford to always point the blaming finger to our parents (or our parents’ parents for that matter), it always helps to know the kind of environment we as children were accustomed to. Do we bribe our children before good acts are done or reward them for commendable deeds? Do we allow them to explain for their behavior or immediately punish them for apparent mistakes without looking into the matter? Do we play favorites and show partiality in assigning household chores and giving gifts? Do we believe them when they explain why things messed up and affirm our love despite their failures? Fortunately and unfortunately, how we manage our household will always come out as soon as our respective children leave our home and lead their own lives.

As an adage puts it, he who knows not his history is bound to repeat it. Those big fishes guilty of graft and corruption somehow had little stories to begin with, and such stories range from rejection, non-recognition, and non-affirmation at home. Generally, those who receive bribes have little stories of bribery begun at home. Likewise, those who use their power to obtain favor were in one way or another bullied at home or made to do tasks against their will, and as a matter of unconscious revenge employ the same tactic of domination on the gullible and the helpless. Those who have the habit of prolonging the agony of people transacting with the government and thereby forcing them to bribe their way in or out could be once victims of bullying at home too, who never received the recognition and affirmation of their parents and who thus had a distorted view of what authority is all about.

The tale can go on and on and unless we gather our individual contribution together as members of individual households, the best that we can come up with are band-aid solutions, temporarily soothing the wound of corruption but unwittingly allowing what’s underneath to decay and yes, be corrupted. We admit, though painfully, that many leaders now manning the land have become callous to the call to stop graft and corruption, lead honest lives, and serve the people because of whom they were elected. Like Pharaoh of the Ancient Egypt, many of them have chosen the path of wickedness and would not heed Moses’ warning to set the people free; and some of them would even send their armies to kill those who rally for the truth and come against their will, as in the case of Maguindanao massacre. Others would pretend not to hear, see, and feel the clamor of a country besieged by its own unworthy and untrustworthy leaders.

Still we do not lose hope. The recent reports of international economic and political entities commending the current administration for being able to stabilize the country’s economy despite the rest of the world being shaken by global fiscal crisis encourage us that this country is not meant to disintegrate. Our hearts are warmed and our perspective widened as we welcome the radical changes taking place in the whole archipelago. We are blessed by the peace talks our government has initiated with MILF, the multiplication of business process outsourcing companies, the consistent strengthening of peso against dollar, liberalization of the economy, enhancement of tourism, modernization of election, to name a few. These are good signs that the Philippines is up and about, and is ready to fulfill what has long been prophesied about her, perlas ng silanganan.

Of course we have a long way to go, and now is not the time to be lax and lenient, but vigilant and optimistic. We can’t afford to relegate what we have accomplished so far, both in the spirit and in practice, to people who have predisposed themselves to graft and corruption. We will find ways to find them out and expose them in the light. We will pray to the Almighty, voice our grievance, write blogs, utilize print media, tweet, and like and share on Facebook. We will do whatever it takes to discover and uncover them, convince and convict them, and have them repent and renounce their wickedness and evil. By the grace of God we will do it, pronounce it, declare it, and live it, until the Philippines gains its stature as a chosen nation and a royal people belonging to God, that they may declare the praises of Him who called them into His marvelous light. To this end we shall remain. For this cause we shall prosper.

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