INTEGRITY- Good Governance and the Rule of Law

Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016

The law assigns the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) a pivotal role in ensuring integrity and deterring corruption in the public sector. The threat of prosecution and conviction of public wrong-doers is a potent sanction against corruption. This will not be regarded as a credible threat without a reliable and effective OMB that demonstrates credible leadership and publicly measurable success in a sustained anticorruption effort.

ImageThe OMB has far spearheaded the National Anticorruption Plan of Action (NACPA), the collective response of different sectors to the problem of corruption, integrating and strengthening the anticorruption initiatives and commitments of the OMB itself, other constitutional bodies, the three branches of government, LGUs, civil society, the business sector, non-government professional groups, and the foreign donor community. Its five programme components consist of: (a) public policy advocacy; (b) convergence development and management; (c) performance measurement and management; (d) knowledge management and capacity-building; and (e) resource mobilization. The NACPA is implemented through the Multi-Sectoral Anticorruption Council (MSACC), a multisectoral mechanism chaired by the OMB.9

Priority NACPA programmes and projects include enhancing the framework of legislation and local policies against corruption, the adoption and customization of the APEC Code of Conduct for Business, an integrity development review of LGUs, capacity-building on UNCAC-compliant investigative techniques, anticorruption planning workshops for professional groups, including accountants and engineers, and the establishment of the Centre for Asian Integrity, an anticorruption learning center.

Such important efforts notwithstanding, the bureaucracy’s vulnerability to corruption appears only to have increased. The Commission on Audit (COA) in 2009 noted a “rising incidence of irregular, illegal, wasteful and anomalous disbursements of huge amounts of public funds and disposal of public property that it reinstituted the selective preaudit on government transactions”.10 Public clamor has also been loud and insistent for a speedy resolution and closure in a growing number of highly-visible cases of grand corruption involving high-level politicians and bureaucrats. This public sentiment has had political and electoral repercussions and cannot be ignored.

The deterioration is also evident in cross-country comparisons. Of six governance dimensions in the WGI, the country’s score in “control of corruption” has consistently been the second lowest, next only to political instability. In Transparency International’s “Corruption Perception Index”, the Philippines ranked 134 out of 178 countries in 2010. Investors have pointed to corruption as the most problematic factor for doing business.11 In the 2008 Global Integrity Report, the Philippines received a moderate overall ranking, gaining a score of 71 points in its Integrity Indicator Scorecard, only four points better than its 2007 standing. Its lowest scores were in “Elections” (59), “Civil Society, Public Information and Media” (68), and “Government Accountability” (70).12

A massive rethinking and renewal of effort by all agencies involved in the fight against corruption is clearly needed if any real progress is to be made in this aspect.


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