Four years ago, in his inaugural speech when he assumed the presidency in 2016, President Duterte boldly vowed to solve the twin scourge in the country: corruption and illegal drugs.
Now this twin scourge has remained unresolved. In fact, some say, they even became more rampant.
In illegal drugs, despite restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, millions worth of prohibited drugs are still being seized and deaths of alleged drug posers and addicts are still being reported in the papers. Statistics on victims of illegal substance are still rising, a clear evidence that the administration’s massive anti-drug program is a failure.
In corruption, after four years, there seems to be no letup in officials enriching themselves through kickbacks and overpricing.
And the President himself admitted this in his latest public address. In his now familiar desultory manner of speaking, the President pinpointed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as an agency with unabated corruption.
“Grabe ang corruption diyan. Walang construction na uumpisa dito na walang transaction. Meron ‘yan (The corruption is worst there. No construction starts without a prior transaction. I’m sure there is corruption there),” the President said.
We all know that there is corruption in the DPWH and this has been going even during the past administrations. But what surprised us in the President’s latest diatribe is that he confined himself to the DPWH when there are other agencies that are similarly graft-ridden such as the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Corrections, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other agencies not to mention the massive stealing in PhilHealth whose officials are now facing criminal prosecution.
In the DENR, for example, who will now answer for the botched white beach project in Manila Bay with P389 million going to be washed out along with the dolomite sand?
Mr. President, we all know that you are sincere in your desire to get rid of graft in public offices. We are behind you one hundred percent. But in your last two years, you have to show us some results, like sending corrupt officials to jail and not just transferring them to other posts. Dapat may sampolan kayo, Ginoong Pangulo.
You still have enough time, Mr. President. We wish you luck and you need all the luck in the world for you to keep your promises.