LIFE MATTERS: Corruption in the Philippines


By COL Dencio Acop (Ret)

In all my writings, I have always said that corruption is the number one threat to national security. In the Philippines, it is very much so. Not China. Not the CPP-NPA or the secessionist groups. Not even organized crime. No public policy, program, or project administration will ever work to advance the national interest unless corruption is first addressed effectively. Every government, despite its campaign promises to the electorate, will continually fall short of its avowed goals if it does not first decisively defeat corruption in its midst. Worst of all, no public policy and program implementation will definitely succeed if the leader himself is subject to corruption and not its slayer. The most visible and shameful artifact to Philippine corruption is the decaying, WWII vintage BRP Sierra Madre still miraculously floating in the Ayungin Shoal of the West Philippine Sea. Despite its most number of generals in any army and uncountable defense contracts, this floating carcass of an old navy ship manned by isolated and poorly equipped marines is the country’s defense against foreign aggressors especially the self-declared owner of the South China Sea: China.

I am a retired soldier who worked in government for almost thirty (30) years. I am therefore privy to some of the social media groups involving fellow ex-servicemen mostly academy graduates. In these groups, almost every chatter has a solution to every Filipino problem there is. Some are young and stupidly naive. But some are old and continually hypocritical. To the former I say study more and serve more so you will know what you are talking about. And to the old, I say your rants are more like atonement for your sins of the past. You speak of things like love of country and fighting corruption. But you yourselves were corrupt even while serving in uniform! Many of you supported corrupt, morally bankrupt leaders! Even leaders who did not deserve support because they committed treason against the Filipino people. How can we be suddenly for the people when we performed our duties against them when it was our time serving them in active-duty? Or as retired military in the civilian government? My point is that there is so much hypocrisy and disconnect in the way we Filipinos conduct our affairs. We profess to honor and love our country yet see nothing wrong with partaking in corruption. We cry to the high heavens against the injustices caused by corruption and yet have turned a blind eye when we benefited from corrupt leaders. We confess selflessness in having served our country yet dabbled in selfishness over love of country when corrupt leaders dangled promotion in exchange for loyalty to a corrupt regime.

I invite all to self-examination. Like we keep saying, everything starts from each individual. Let’s practice our speech. We must all begin from an examination of conscience. Before we even open our mouths. Examine our values and what we have done in our lives. Honestly. With only God as our witness. In the secular world, the order of effective action is reversed from the non-secular. It is DO, SAY, and PRAY. The democratic system assumes that leaders elected by the people represent the values they want in their leaders. These values are honesty, integrity, competence, diligence, and selflessness. The elected leaders, especially those in the Executive Department, are elected in order to DO for the people. As check and balance, the elected leaders in the Legislative Department, are mandated to SAY to the executive what needs to be said to ensure that public policy works for the people. And finally, the citizenry PRAYS for both the executive and legislative to pass and execute laws that are OF the people. Not BUY the people. That would be corruption. The number one threat to national security and the public interest. And we’d be back to square one. As if no government existed. Which is theoretically better if government is part of the problem anyway. We need effective solutions. Not more problems. Now more than ever.


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