“All institutions are prone to corruption and to the vices of their members.” Morris West
By Alex P. Vidal
The recent survey conducted by the Global Corruption Barometer of the Transparency International should not be used as the basis to determine which government agency is the most corrupt in the country.
Surveys only determine who is popular and unpopular–like during the election period. They don’t satisfactorily and conclusively establish that the most unpopular is also the most corrupt like in the case of the Philippine National Police (PNP), which was tagged recently as “the most corrupt government agency” based on the “opinion” of the 69 percent of Filipinos surveyed by the anti-corruption watchdog.
Opinion does not make any person or agency guilty of corruption or any misdemeanor. Conclusions should be based on court convictions or number of complaints or cases filed in the proper forum; on how many uniformed men and women failed the lifestyle check and those found to have amassed unexplained wealth, those caught red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar.
Global Corruption Barometer showed only the percentage of “those who believed” that the most corrupt agency is the PNP, not the statistics of court cases, administrative and criminal complaints, and convictions involving organic PNP members. It did not show any number of cases filed with the National Police Commission (Napolcom), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the courts of law. It did not indicate how many cops were under investigation, under preventive suspension, or have been dismissed and convicted for abused of authority, coddling of criminals, extortion, bribery, among other criminal and administrative violations.
Opinion is merely a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. It is the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing and does not reflect any factual truth or reality.
Public perception about the PNP, or any government agencies for that matter, is not fixed. It depends on circumstances and events unfolding when the survey was conducted; it depends on which agency and its personnel was the “most behaved” and “most notorious” when the survey commenced. Guilt based on coincidence isn’t a de rigueur or compulsatory in this case.
Current events help shape public opinion–and perception. If the survey was conducted at the time when several anomalies in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Bureau of Customs (Boc) and the Department of Education (DepEd) were in the news, PNP could be relegated in the lower level as “the most corrupt.”
Psycho-cybernetics plays a crucial role in this undertaking. If the survey was held at the time when social media and TV networks were playing up the heroism and gallantry of some cops in actual crisis and calamities, respondents would think twice before making disparaging remarks against the law enforcers, judgment that would demoralize dedicated and honest members of the police organization.
It was reported further that the latest survey also showed “35 percent of Filipinos thought corruption in the country had gone down a little in the past two years, while 31 percent believed it had stayed the same.”
“Nineteen percent of surveyed Filipinos said corruption had increased a lot, while 12 percent said it had increased a little. Only two percent thought corruption in the country had decreased a lot. Some respondents also admitted to paying bribes in the last 12 months. Nineteen percent admitted to bribing the police while 14 percent did the same for registry and permit services.”
Corruption remains to be the number one scourge in government and is blamed for the massive poverty in the country. Already pandemic in the system, almost every government agency has its own share of scalawags and these rotten apples deplete the national treasury at the behest of powerful characters who run the affairs of the state.