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IS GRAFT NO LONGER A CRIME?

EDITORIAL

With graft and corruption happening all around despite of Daang Matuwid, one would wonder whether these acts still constitute a crime especially so that many are accused but very few are convicted.

During the last four years of this era, it seems that not a single conviction can be remembered.

What appears to be happening is that the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Plunder Law have become convenient tools for persecuting political enemies.

Used as instruments of putting political opponents in jail, it does not afford speedy trial to the accused. Jailed politicians are just left there until the next favorable political weather frees them for insufficiency of evidence.

Having gained the reputation of being a tool for political persecution, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law and the Plunder Act seem to have attained a level of ineffectiveness.

Once, a political personality is accused of graft or plunder, the charge is immediately reported by vested interests to the Media and the accusers, usually backed by well-oiled machinery, do everything to convict the accused through trial by publicity.

Naturally, for the accused the convenient defense is political persecution or motivation.

It has become commonplace for one accused of graft or plunder to cry, “The case is politically motivated.”

In ARMM which may soon be called Bangsamoro, there are rumors of graft and corruption but no cases have been filed.

Perhaps the authorities have found the process of litigation, long, tedious and may end as soon as the next political climate change comes along.

So that every accusation against graft and corruption in the region remains mere rhetoric — better said than done.

In a recent report, DepEd ARMM announced that it has found about 20 thousand ghost pupils and implied that there could be ghost classrooms and ghost teachers as well.

Some Schools Divisions have not been allowed to process teachers’ appointments and promotions “to avoid irregularities in the past.”

Appointments and promotions are to be handled by the Regional Office as announced by Assistant Secretary John Magno in Marawi City about weeks ago.

In Iligan City, charges have been filed against some elected officials and career employees due to alleged Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

As expected some have sounded that these complaints are politically motivated.

If graft and corruption has become part of our culture, perhaps it is time to repeal the laws that make them a crime.

However, if the social standards of right and wrong remain to abhor such acts, then the law must take its course.

And to really stop the commission of the crime, everyone should just stop and stop cleanly.

If society cannot stop graft and corruption, then all must accept the natural consequences.


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