Politics and Greed

By Dora The Mouse

Politics is defined as “the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.”
Some people enter politics because of their desire to serve their country and to make a change for a better tomorrow. I truly believe that some politicians when they enter the world of politics, their intentions were honest, noble, patriotic and have that great sense of duty to serve the people. They have this belief that they could make a big difference in the way the government operates. There is this euphoria that when elected, change can be done. Some of the elected politicians were good to their promises and did the best they can for the country. They were a rare breed of leaders. They have respectability, integrity and value their honor first before material things and they left us a legacy to follow their footsteps. Unfortunately, there were very few of them.

We elect politicians expecting them to act in the public interest. By electing them, we give them access to public resources and the power to make decisions that impact our lives. By giving them these privileged positions, they can immensely inflict great damage if Greed overcomes their good judgment. Majority of the elected officials fell under the claws of greed. Greed is a powerful motivator. Acquisitiveness and envy are the prime reasons for the corruptions that existed today. The desire to acquire a Mansion or mansions, expensive cars, jewelries, power over the people, billions of money, the demi-god feeling of being on top of the world. That is what happened with these so-called leaders of our country. The rapacious desire to amass great wealth for own satisfactions. It is a never ending want for more money until the bleeding country fall into catastrophic chaos of pathetic despair and bankruptcy. Our elected leaders forgot the promises they made to the people to alleviate their sufferings and poverty. They became callous and blind to the fact that a few kilometers from Malacanang Palace were desperate poor people hungry and barely surviving and living literally amongst the dead. The cemetery became their homes and playground for their children.

Again, in the world of politics today, GREED is the driving force why some people engaged in politics and work hard to get elected for public service. Once elected, greed and corruptions begin. According to the late President Kennedy and I quote “Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” It is a beautiful quotation but do our leaders believe it? Once elected, it is what the elected officials can get out of the government treasury, stash it away to some foreign banks, and put the bank accounts in several pseudonyms protected by our banking systems. It is not because they love the people and they want to serve them, it is the ticket to acquire wealth and power. The ineptness and inadequacy of the responsible government officials who are supposed to be the watchdog also have their hands tarnished and muddied by corruptions. Everywhere you look, there are so many corruptions that people can not trust their elected officials anymore than they will trust a mad dog nearby. This is what Politics and Greed can do to a person. I hope that one day we will have that special person, honest, dignified, respectable with honorable character to lead the Philippines once more into prosperity.

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4 Comments

Filed under Politics, Views and Concern

4 responses to “Politics and Greed

  1. Thank you for this post Mouse! My post Talking With The Mouse Only should serve as my reply to your reflections on politics and the problem of greed. Sometimes it’s too tiring already to talk about this topic for this diverts us totally from other pleasant and civilized topics about the Philippines. But this is part of the task. Naturally there should be more interesting topics like arts and literature, cooking, architecture and sciences, music and handicrafts, etc., to write than just about Bolante, Resado, Mr. Arroyo, etc., who offer nothing in the advancement of Philippine culture and civilization but shame and degredation of the nation. On the other hand, it is remarkable how these scams are coming to light one after the other. That means there are still people who are committed to good governance, social justice and democracy- in short, civilization. I see it for example in the person of Senator Escudero and in a few more senators. This group of audacious younger Filipino politicians are good examples for our youth of today.
    ————-
    News

    ‘Money must be paid as high up as the president’
    Philstar.com –

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    The Japanese contractor who provided information to World Bank (WB) investigators regarding alleged rigging of the bidding for road projects said he was told that bribes had to be paid to officials as high as “the president.”

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    The Japanese contractor, whose name had been publicly announced as Tomatu Suzuka, told WB investigators that in one meeting with the late Sen. Robert Barbers, it was made clear to him that there would be no business in the Philippines without paying money.

    “Money would have to be paid as high up as the president, senior government officials and politicians in order to do any further business in the country. To win a contract it would be necessary to pay the head of the bureau and politicians several million yen (several tens of thousands of US dollars),” the excerpts, provided by government sources, stated.

    But Suzuka said he did not have any direct contact with President Arroyo and only met with Barbers and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, who “first discussed bribes” and that they had a “rough approach.”

    Excerpts of the WB report on the blacklisting of three Filipino and four Chinese construction firms for collusive practices in the bidding for WB-funded government projects did not only name names of politicians and government officials involved in the anomalous practice, but also provided leads that investigators could pursue.

    The Japanese witness, who left the country in 2002, “learned that money was important to do business in the Philippines,” which was “a fundamental difference in their way of thinking.”

    Suzuka’s local agent, who was identified as Trix Lim, said he would have to pay to get a contract and that dollars would resolve any problems with the WB.

    The Japanese said he met Lim in 2001 at the Diamond Hotel with policemen and public officials and “Tito Miranda,” identified as an assistant director of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 4, to discuss the payments.

    “Mr. Suzuka thought Mr. Miranda was a secretary to Senator Barbers; Mr. Miranda asked Mr. Suzuka to pay the cost of a trip to Japan for Sen. Barbers; Mr. Suzuka refused,” the report said.

    Filipino, Korean and Chinese contractors interviewed by the WB in their probe had the same version of how to bag a contract for infrastructure projects in the country – through the right connections at the right price.

    They also lamented that it was an open secret that contractors would have to adhere to the process or they would be kicked out of the loop. They expressed helplessness because despite the vulgarity of the bribery and collusion, it seemed that no one was in charge to put an end to it.

    An informant of the WB said: “The corruption in the bidding is extensively from FG (First Gentleman, Mr. Arroyo), congressmen to DWPH officer and contractors.”

    “No one have (sic) the ability to stop it,” the report said.

    A Filipino contractor said that in the past, projects could be awarded to a contractor after bribing individuals within the agency. But he said the system had changed and in many instances, politicians organized the bidding.

    Lacson urges filing of raps

    Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the Philippine government should take legal action against several officials, including First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, that were implicated in the World Bank (WB) report on alleged rigging of the bidding for government infrastructure projects.

    “So what I’m trying to say is, why does it take the World Bank to take notice and take action and the Philippine government doesn’t act?” Lacson told local newsmen in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, where he attended yesterday the inauguration of a school building that was constructed under Mayor Reynaldo Velasco, a former police official and the senator’s classmate at the Philippine Military Academy.

    He said Malacañang always claims that the alleged anomalies involving top administration officials and Mr. Arroyo are mere speculations.

    “Now it’s the World Bank speaking. There is a reputable financial institution dragging the name of FG,” he said.

    He said that a Japanese contractor and nine Filipino contractors could link Mr. Arroyo to the bid-rigging of road projects.

    “Among the ten, the Japanese and Filipino contractors were the ones who have given substantial testimonies about the First Gentleman. One is a Japanese and the other contractor is a Filipino. The other witnesses were the ones who tagged a former senator, the congressmen, other politicians and other government officials,” Lacson said.

    In an interview with radio station dzMM, Lacson identified the Japanese contractor as Suzuka.

    Aside from Mr. Arroyo, the report of the World Bank also tagged Sen. Barbers, former Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, former Negros Rep. Jerome Paras and former DPWH Secretary Florante Soriquez, project director Lope Adriano and Eduardo de Luna, owner of the E. C. de Luna construction which was blacklisted by WB in the road project.

    The WB report further said three percent would go to the contractor, 10 to 15 percent to government officials of the agencies where documents of the road project would pass through.

    The report quoted the contractor as saying all payments were made in cash and that his company’s books did not reflect them. The total payoff was between 15 and 20 percent and that they were made in cash. The witness said the books were faked to avoid taxes.

    Other names were mentioned, such as “Mr. Miranda” and “Mr. Belleza,” who also allegedly worked to manipulate bidding.

    Lacson said another Korean contractor and a former Philippine government official also gave information to the WB.

    He said the documents that were submitted to the Senate committee on economic affairs chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago only included the World Bank’s notices to EC de Luna and to Cavite Ideal (International Construction and Development Corp.).

    “Those documents are not the World Bank report. The World Bank report is the full report brought by the World Bank to the Office of the Ombudsman through the Department of Finance (DOF). The criminal proceedings would have started in the Office of the Ombudsman. All the details are there,” Lacson said.

    Lacson said one of his options is to deliver a privilege speech regarding the matter.

    “But I am still completing all the papers, including the report of the World Bank, which are excerpts. The report is too thick because it includes the references and all the statements are there. The last page in my possession is page 124. I assume that if we will include the attachment, the pages will be about 300 to 400 pages. So, I can get all that and all the details are there. Maybe, it would be better to inform the people by way of a privilege speech,” Lacson said.

    Lacson said he intentionally did not reveal the name of the late Sen. Barbers because he is already dead.

    He said it would be Santiago’s call if she will conduct an investigation into the World Bank report.

    “It’s her call actually. If she wants to resume, let her resume it. If she does not want to resume, fine. But it is the Philippine government that will be left in an embarrassing position, and the Filipino people. You will really get embarrassed that what is happening to the Philippines is malignant,” Lacson said.

    Three of the seven contractors are Filipino companies, while four are Chinese firms.

    The Filipino contractors are E. C. de Luna Construction Corp, owned by Eduardo de Luna, which the World Bank blacklisted permanently; and Cavite Ideal International Construction and Development Corp. and CM Pancho Construction, Inc., which were each barred from participating in WB projects for four years.

    The Chinese contractors are China Geo-Engineering Corp., China Road and Bridge Corp., China State Construction Engineering Corp., and China Wuyi Co. Ltd.

    In its four-page decision on the case of the seven contractors, the WB accused them of allegedly engaging in “fraudulent practices,” which included “misrepresentation of facts to influence the procurement (bidding) process for one or more procurement packages.”

    Sen. Escudero vows to continue probe

    While Senator Santiago is still waiting for witnesses and documents from the World Bank, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday he would dig deeper into the alleged collusion among Filipino contractors to bag a WB-funded road project and which resulted in their being blacklisted.

    Santiago had asked Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes and laws, to review the needed amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act in relation to the WB exposé, and scheduled the hearing on Feb. 17.

    “The controversy over the alleged rigging of bids for the World Bank’s road projects shows us what the investigations into the ZTE deal and cyber-education has led us to – that we need to have more transparency and accountability in the government procurement system. Only an open system will allow that,” Escudero said in a statement from Washington.

    He was referring to the national broadband network deal between the government and the Chinese firm ZTE Corp. as well as the cyber-ed project also funded by the Chinese government. Both were mired in controversy for allegedly being overpriced to accommodate fat kickbacks among officials who would work on the approval of the project.

    Escudero said the WB report of irregularities in the bidding of road projects in the country showed serious flaws in Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

    “To avoid the practice of what the World Bank has already called a major cartel, discretion of procurement agencies should be lessened and observers should be invited to participate in the bidding process,” he said.

    The WB blacklisted three Filipino contractors for collusion in bidding for contracts under Phase One of the National Roads Improvement and Management Program, known as NRIMP 1, last year.

    Meanwhile, a former executive of a Chinese construction company who is being invited to testify at the Senate investigation on the alleged rigging of bidding for government road projects, has received death threats.

    Venicio Ramos, former resident manager of Guandong Construction Ltd., reported to the Quezon City Police District-Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit that he received the threats last Tuesday through an anonymous text message and from two men who came to his house in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City, that same day.

    Ramos said Sen. Benigno Aquino III had called him up last Monday, inviting him to be a witness to testify at the congressional hearings on alleged anomalous biddings for government road projects.

    Ramos had filed charges against Public Works Undersecretary Rafael Yabut, Assistant Secretary Joel Jacob, and Director Vicente Perez, at the Ombudsman in 2005.

    However, Ramos was still undecided on whether to testify, and just told Aquino that he would think about it. /

    With Eva Visperas, Jose Rodel Clapano, and Reinir Padua –
    By Aurea Calica (Philstar News Service, http://www.philstar.com)

  2. attybenji

    kultura ng pulitikong pinoy – It is unfortunate that once in power, politicians easily forgot their promises of good governance and sincere public service to the electorates during the campaign period, and would begin to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. . . This greed for power and control leads to internal intolerance, selfishness, avarice, chaos….. will lead to every form of immorality, to satisfy its selfish propensities to commit crime and steal people’s money or plunder the wealth of the nation. (at kapag na convict ng husgado, agad agad naman gagawaran ng pardon o executive clemency)

    Basta nasa poder na, wala ng gustong bumaba sa truno ng kapangyarihan, Sa kasalukuyang panahon, isang politiko lang ang kilala ko sa Pilipinas na hindi sakim sa kapangyarihan at hindi na ulit tumakbo for his possible re-election as senator, si ex-Senator Rene AV Saguisag. Halos lahat ng nasa kapangyarihan (local man o national level) ayaw ng umalis sa truno at nagpapasasa na sa kapangyarihan.

  3. J.A. Carizo

    atty. benjie:

    power is like illegal drugs, it is addicting.

    bata pa ako kaya di ko masyado kilala si Saguisag so I can’t say why or why not the senator got addicted to power. hehehe

  4. The warriors are back- and surely nice to have you again! Power is indeed like drugs,- they’re addicting and lead some people to illegal actions like violence, electoral fraud, malversion of public funds and even extra-judicial killings.
    But in the hands of good men, power leads them to excellent achievements and help them restore a broken nation. Now, the question remains: Who will restore the Philippines? And in what circumstances can power be used positively in our nation? Should we be decentralized to maximize the effectiveness of political power? Do we need a single president or rather a body of ministers acting collectively as president? Or shall we depart radically from this old concept of governance where we always elect useless and incompetent president and rather hire and pay high skilled managers and technocrats of different specialties to form the corporate body, not to govern but to manage the business of our country effectively? The traditional method of electing a president and assigning him the function as head of the state has proven to be- as experience has shown us- not the right model that fits the Filipino political character. Our “Heads Of The State” in the past and at present have only caused the Philippine nation huge troubles, becoming more of a heavy burden to the people, a national hydrocephalus on top of
    of a frail and breaking body of people.
    Political power is not properly harnessed in our country that’s why the poor economy and the moral strain. It’s technically a problem of poor national management. We need a conceptual change in our perception of politics and governance for as I see it, the prevailing political concept and system in the Philippines will just keep us rotating in one place where we all feel the strain of not moving forward but do not know what causes it.
    This is just a spontaneous opinion.

    jun asuncion

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