Philippines President Incapable of Mounting Credible Campaign Against Corruption: Critic

Apr. 23, 2007

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the war against corruption
will continue to falter for as long as the country is
led by a president whose legitimacy is under question
and whose hold on power is shaky.

Pimentel said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could
not govern wisely and effectively because her
administration is hounded by allegations that she
cheated her way to victory in the 2004 presidential

Because she is an interloper in Malacaang, she does
not have the support of the people, Pimentel said.

When the president of a democratic country, like ours
grabs power by cheating in the elections as she did,
her hold on power can only be tenuous.

Because of the ineffectual anti-graft campaign under
the present administration, Pimentel lamented that the
Philippines has earned the dubious distinction as the
most corrupt in this part of Asia, based on survey
findings of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic
Risk Consultancy (PERC) last March.

As if this was not enough, the United States Trade
Representative Office recently submitted a National
Trade Estimate report to the US Congress describing
government corruption in the Philippines as

In September, last year, the World Bank report,
Government Matters 2006 stated that the country has
faltered over the past eight years, in governance
and in curbing corruption.

The stench of corruption is literally oozing through
the interstices of the bureaucracy, Pimentel said.
And the stinking trail leads to the doorsteps of

He said a quote from the late US President Harry
Truman is an apt description of who, in the end, is
responsible: The buck stops here.

Ultimately, the President is to blame. It is
difficult to exculpate the President from all the
colossal corruption going on in her administration. If
the President is not involved in the massive
corruption, it is curious, to say the least, why she
is completely unable or shall we say, unwilling to
stop it.

Describing the future of governance in the country as
sad, Pimentel said the present administration is
over-burdened by three Cs confusion, corruption
and constitutional contortions.

He said a major reason why the President is incapable
of waging a credible fight against corruption is that
she herself was caught with her fingers in the
electoral cookie jar in the 2004 presidential

But he said the President, instead of resigning,
engages in constitutional contortions to stay in

Pimentel said Mrs. Arroyo used Commission on Elections
officials led by former Commissioner Virgilio
Garcillano to manufacture election data in some parts
of the Visayas and Mindanao that made up for her
enormous electoral setbacks elsewhere in the country.

Because of unrelenting questions that dog the
legitimacy of the Arroyo presidency, Pimentel said the
President now relies on the armed components of
government power to stabilize her administration.

She can no longer bank on the time-honored principle
of the Rule of Law. Thus, she now uses the time-tested
totalitarian principle that power flows out of the
barrel of the gun.

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