EDITORIAL: Wary of Boomerang



Why the popular expectation about Malacañan’s posturing to project an honest to goodness drive against graft and corruption that would include even those belonging to the legislative branch has been doused with ice cold water is not hard to fathom. It could create a domino effect, with both the executive and the legislative bodies investigating each other.


So to avoid that embarrassing situation, the executive branch has opted to take the safer track of quid pro quo. “Favor con favor se paga”. The readily available excuse of observing the principle of separation of powers has been invoked. This way Malacañan has found an excuse, though of questionable validity.


As a consequence, the much vaunted anti-graft campaign has already flopped even before it is started. There are ways to uncover anomalies without necessarily encroaching into the legislative prerogative. One of which is to take seriously the COA audit report and the recommendations of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).


With this tracing the nature and extent of the irregularities would be a lot easier, because people belonging to offices within the executive department are more vulnerable to anomalies. A case build up can already take place. With the Pandora’s box already agape evidence gathering becomes manageable.


It is at this point when rank and file personnel are caught red handed, of course without them admitting full accountability of the mess. It is also at this time when appointive officials often offer to spill the beans. Whistle blowers crop-up.


Anomalies of this nature usually involve public works and supply deliveries (heavy equipment, medicines and vaccines), mining concessions, franchise granting and the like. Usually, in order to avoid full accountability this personnel offer to become state witnesses by mentioning the names, usually of elective government officials who in one way or another were the ones pulling the strings.


With this a full dressed investigation is a necessary aftermath given that details about how a pork barrel system is being utilized in order to effect a workable distribution of the scandalous take, kick back being the most prominent.


Therefore no need for Malacanan to hesitate in naming directly the members of the legislators involved in the racket given that the irregularities have been unearthed in the course of an honest to goodness inquiry.


But it is believed that the executive department is wary about a situation where the investigator becomes the investigated. Besides under the law the legislative body is ideally the keeper of the purse.


Such being the case offices under the executive branch have to kowtow with the legislators in order to get a sizeable share of the budgetary allocation, thereby creating an atmosphere of both sides scratching each-other’s back.


Of sensitive importance is the budget assigned to intelligence operations, which by practice is not subject to auditing.


This usually happens in the midst of budget hearing during which time so much scandalous haggling are done in secret. Non-disclosure of corrupt legislators based on respect for separation of powers is too lame for an excuse. Rather it is the prospect of boomerang that is being avoided. There is a very popular expression in Bicol describing this Malacañan approach. “Sagin sagin batag”.