MANILA—How do you fix a problem like corruption? For Sen. Manny Pacquiao, part of the solution is educating voters not to vote for corrupt officials.
In a round-table forum organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday, Pacquiao and 3 other presidential candidates gave proposals on how to enforce transparency in government.
Pacquiao traced the culprit to both a lack of teeth in the law as well as respect for it.
He called on Filipino voters to be mindful in casting their ballots.
“Tayo ring mga tao ang sisisihin noon dahil binoboto natin sila. Ngayon kung boboto tayo ng nagnanakaw, nagsasamantala sa atin, sino ang sisisihin natin? Tayo ring sarili kasi tayo rin ang bumuboto. Mag-isip tayo mabuti especially sa halalang ito dahil nakataya ang kinabukasan ng ating mga anak.”
Meanwhile, former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said trust should be restored in government.
“If we reduce the bureaucratic system, mababawasan talaga ang korupsyon. Nakita namin ‘yan noong nakapwesto kami. I-restore natin ang trust sa ating officials, it’s the reverse of what we’re doing. Puro tayo suspicions, mistrust.”
Other measures put forward by labor leader Leody De Guzman are passing an enabling law against political dynasties, and changing how poll campaigns are done to avoid giving those with more money a bigger chance in winning elections.
“Hangga’t pumapasok sa gobyerno ang mga corrupt, mga inakusahan na, hindi talaga mawawala ang pagnanakaw sa ating pamahalaan.”
The candidates agreed on the importance of releasing public officials’ statement of assets, liabilities and net worth or SALN.
For Vice President Leni Robredo, the law has already mandated this so asking for compliance should not be a problem.
Her primary tool for removing corruption in the executive branch—choosing the best people for the job.
“Dapat ang mga tao hindi political ang consideration, dapat expert sa field, walang record ng corruption.”
Robredo added that public officials should not be given any leeway to engage in corruption, which could be addressed by enforcing a citizen’s charter.
“Kung ‘yong tao kabahagi siya, deterrent iyon sa public official na gumawa ng mali.”
Other candidates could not attend the CBCP forum due to conflict in schedules.