EDITORIAL: When Corruption Contaminates The Most Vital Agency
It is unfortunate that for several months now the wild issue of corruption through smuggling and hoarding is still unattended to in the premier department of the executive branch – the Department of Agriculture.
Government watchers are vocal that the issue seems to be an outcome of mismanagement. Lower officials allegedly overstretched, or do not do well their functions, and even unofficially act on behalf of their superiors.
As a high official opined, corruption happens in almost all branches of government. It happens in important departments such as energy, transport, finance, and infrastructure. But when this happens in the office in charge of food, we are in trouble. We can survive without power, transport, and money, but if we do not have accessible, affordable, on-time food on our tables, we can forget about remarkable economic statistics and sovereign geopolitics.
Agricultural economics managed through national and centralized policies has been in trouble characterized by illegal importations, smuggling, hoarding, and uncontrolled and unstable prices of foods and agricultural products and prime commodities.
Corrupt officials in the Department of Agriculture have been reported in print, broadcast, and social media. But little has been said to be accountable and penalized. The constitutional provision of due process has been used to subvert the very justiciable right it has been intended to protect.
What must be done to correct the problem? When the justice system is not working under the executive branch the most logical option is to resort to the legislative. The lower house, or the Senate can initiate an investigation in aid of legislation. They can call for resource persons from the concerned department and its stakeholder to ferret out the truth, determine the culprits, and propose innovative and strategic solutions and policy actions.
But, when the person in charge of the department, and who seemed to be the one answerable for the mess is the most powerful persons in the land, what will the senators and congressmen and women do?