Duterte may fire more officials over corruption index ranking

THE Philippines’ lower ranking in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has prodded the current administration to fire more corrupt officials.

The CPI is released by Transparency International, evaluating countries using a scale of zero to 100 where zero translated to “highly corrupt” while 100 meant “every clean.”

In the 2019 index, the Philippines ranked 113th out of 180 countries, slipping 14 places from its 99th ranking in 2018.

“It will goad us to sack more corrupt officials, provided, of course, there is evidence to show that they are,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday, January 27.

“The problem is this: There are many complaints of corruption but the president, as a lawyer, needs certain documentary and testimonial evidence to give him the basis. And many Filipinos are still afraid to reveal themselves, or to give the evidence of the sort,” he added.

According to the  CPI 2019 report, vibrant economic powers like China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines “continue to struggle to tackle corruption,”citing the restrictions on participation in public affairs, the supposed effort to silence dissenting voices, and keeping the decision-making out of public scrutiny as reasons.

Panelo, for his part, admitted that the administration is struggling against corruption, reasoning that “the president’s hands are tied by the due process clause of the Constitution.”

“It would be different if all of these have been appointed by the president, you can just dismiss them outright. You have to file charges against them, you need evidence to back your complaint,” he said.

However, Panelo insisted that the administration’s anti-corruption effort is not a failure.

“We’ve been fighting corruption and as we have seen, the president has been firing top officials. And the complaints against erring government officials have been charged in the Ombudsman and in courts,” he said.

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