Graft and lies

July 24, 2019

THE sheer exasperation, the utter frustration shown live before the people,

A very disappointed President Duterte did not hide his feelings about the way things where going (south of certain people’s pockets?) in government.  

Apparently, “the cheating, lying, and stealing” shamelessly continues, and Mr. Tough Guy with the mean mouth could not provide an answer or solution to the problem of official theft.

The President on Monday devoted  a large portion of his 4th State-of-the-Nation Address expressing his frustration over corruption within the government and his promise to use the remaining three years of his term to curb it.

“Corruption continues and emasculates the courage we need to sustain our moral recovery initiatives,” Duterte said in his report to the nation at the Joint Session of the 18th Congress at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives Complex in Constitution Hills, Quezon City.

“No amount of euphemism can trivialize or normalize betrayal of public trust or any other criminal offense. It is an injury laced with insult. It is both a national embarrassment and a national shame,” he added.

The President, meanwhile, urged Filipinos to use the government’s 8888 hotline to report corruption complaints.

Duterte said Malacañan Palace would be open to receiving complaints for 24 hours so long as it involved corruption.

He acknowledged that although he has been working for government for almost 35 years, he still does not have answers how to end corruption..

“Let me ask you: When will corruption end? Well, I don’t know. I’ve been in — with government for almost 35 years now. I am not singling out myself. It’s the entire gamut of our system,” he said. “Corruption exasperates. It frustrates.”

And since corrupt activities and practices are perpetraded by lying, would a new bill proposed by newly re-elected Senate President Tito Sotto III be of any help?

Sotto wants persons who lie under oath to be jailed up to a maximum of 10 years as a deterrent to suspects who retracts testimonies to get off sticky situations.

“Every now and then, we hear stories of people being charged with the crime of perjury - it could be in the news or just in the neighborhood. It is an act which undermines the solemnity of the oath that one has undertook to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’,” he said.

“A lot of people - prominent or otherwise - would subsequently and without batting an eyelash change their stories made under oath like it was not a big deal. This may be partly due to the imposable penalty that goes with the crime of perjury,” Sotto noted as he filed Senate Bill 8.

SBN 8 proposes a longer jail term of six years to 10 years for persons who are found guilty of the crime of perjury. It seeks to amend Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code which only imposes six months to two years imprisonment for persons who make false testimonies under oath.

Sotto said that with the threat of a short jail term, suspects tend to change the narrativein the middle of their testimonies.

The Senate President said the country can take the cue from California, which considers perjury as a capital offense, or from Queensland in Australia, where making false testimonies are punishable by up to life imprisonment.

“We must not allow anyone to play games with our laws. We must ensure that our laws are respected at all times,” Sotto stressed.