Gives self grade of zero in convictions
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino admitted that the administration still has “a long way to go” in fighting corruption, saying that running after corrupt officials must result in convictions.
During a dialogue in Malacañang with students of PAREF Southridge School, President Aquino said that he would give his administration a grade of “zero” if fighting corruption would be measured in terms of the number of officials convicted of corruption.
He said his administration has not yet secured a conviction against his predecessor, former President Arroyo.
“We’re in the midst of an ongoing trial of the person we felt was at the head of instituting corruption for practically ten years of their administration. So that we have not secured a conviction, so [on a scale of] one to ten, doon, parang nasa zero pa lang tayo. We’re still at the process. We have to prove the allegations and that is what is necessary when you operate under the systems of laws,” Aquino said when asked by one of the students about the grade that he would give for his administration’s anti-corruption efforts.
“We can go [through] the list down the line of all the running after corrupt personnel, but it’s still a long way to go… Fighting corruption is not just merely investigating somebody or filing appropriate charges but it has to end in a conviction that proves that there is a certainty that you will go to prison if you commit a crime,” he added.
He said he wants to send a message to corrupt officials by running after them and ensuring their conviction.
“There is a cynical way of looking at it: If you’re gonna steal, steal a lot, and that sense that you will be immune from justice. And what we want to prove is there’s no such thing. You commit a crime, small or big, and especially if it’s big, there will be a certainty that you will get your just reward, which is imprisonment,” he said.
Aquino, however, said that the government was able to save money that could have otherwise gone to corruption by instituting reforms in government agencies. He said that the DPWH was able to save P10 billion from corruption by undoing certain practices in the past.
In the end, however, he said that he would rather have the people judge him instead of grading himself.
“The people are my bosses and the bosses tell me whether or not I’m passing, failing, barely passing or exceeding their expectations,” he said.