MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said it is important that public servants remain incorruptible during their stay in office, just as she noted the significance of accountability and transparency of government officials.
During a program by the Rotary Club of Manila, the presidential aspirant said it is no longer "enough" for public servants to serve clean, as they also need to ensure that mechanisms are in place to prevent corruption in their office.
"It is not enough for public servants to be clean. It is not enough to say that this particular… this particular public servant is not corrupt," according to the Vice President.
"It is very important to make sure that there are systems in place... And when we say accountability, there are a lot of different ways on how to ensure that public officials are accountable," Robredo said.
"When I was a member of Congress, many of the bills which I filed were really—were really to ensure that there is a very transparent way of being accountable. And you know, again, there are many measures that can be institutionalized to do that," she added, noting why freedom of information is also relevant.
She also pointed out that government offices should make sure that public funds are well accounted for, which is why her office takes the Commission on Audit's (COA) reviews seriously.
For the 3rd straight year, the Office of the Vice President received the highest audit rating in 2020, with COA giving the office an "unqualified opinion."
"The reason why we worked very hard in making sure that we would get, from year to year, unqualified COA opinion is to show everyone that we were—we have been very serious in making sure that we have been very prudent in the way we spend public funds no matter how small our—no matter how small our budget is," she explained.
Aside from these, officials should also make people feel empowered, and that it should be institutionalized.
There should be a platform, she said, where people could participate, monitor, and evaluate projects. Grievances should also be aired.
"You know, the very concept of when ordinary people are there to monitor every single thing that the government is doing, then government will be forced to be—government will be forced to be very faithful in the way it conducts its regular business," said Robredo.
Robredo last year appealed to government officials to hear the plight of the people on the ground amid the COVID-19 pandemic and calamities that struck the country.
Speaking directly with Filipinos, spending time with them and “valuing their perspectives” helps affirm their worth and recognizes the humanity that binds everyone together, Robredo added.
Robredo, a Liberal Party stalwart, is running as an independent candidate. She has tapped Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan as her running mate for next year's elections.