Helping the Ombudsman
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
With the Philippine's ranking in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015 dropping 10 notches compared to the 2014 ranking, going to 95 th from 85 th , Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has taken to urging voters to choose wisely in the May elections if they want a clean government.
The feisty Ombudsman says a “super” number of corrupt government officials can still be found throughout the bureaucracy and that corruption remains prevalent in government. Her office had received thousands of complaints of graft and corrupt practices and other administrative violations. Most of the newly-filed cases involve local officials while police officials also figured prominently. Other officials who face investigation by the Ombudsman include those from the military, education, finance, natural resources, justice and agriculture departments. Officials of state universities and colleges as well as those from the fire protection and jail management bureaus have not been spared from the scourge of corruption as well.
The Ombudsman urged Filipino voters to choose candidates with unblemished integrity in the May general elections. Morales says candidates, whether vying for local or national posts, should present a clear anti-corruption platform. She urged voters to ask: “What's their program against corruption? Because it's not enough for you (the candidate) to say ‘I am honest, I am being maligned.' Tell them: ‘What's your program against corruption?”.
Considering the workload of her office, it is easy to understand why Ombudsman Morales is encouraging Filipino voters to choose candidates with integrity. It currently has to deal with 11,056 cases, including 8,715 pending cases from previous years and 2,341 cases filed in the first half of 2015. Only 27 percent of those cases have been resolved. The Ombudsman's workload would become more manageable if the Filipino people would only do their jobs properly during the elections and choose candidates who are honest and have integrity.
Voters aren't just helping the Ombudsman do her job when they properly screen the candidates in the coming elections and minimizing the chances of putting more corrupt people in government. We will also be doing our part in protecting our country and our communities from the continuing scourge of corruption when we become more discerning with the use of our ballots.
Elections remind us that the power of the voter and the ballot surpasses that of the Ombudsman when it comes to keeping corruption at bay. Let us save our beloved country by collectively using that power wisely on Election Day.*