Alarming political corruption

MOST politicians and political parties had been acting as rent seekers in the execute e and legislative branches of government. Such a situation has led to costly political campaigns and increasing party expenditures for legislative elections and local polls.

Once they are in power, they have no choice but abuse their authority to seek funds for their campaigns to win their legislative seats and help finance their parties’ activities.

In the Cabinet, party elites sold top echelon positions and gain from political issuances within their own portfolio.

This form of political corruption had been rife not only among political leaders but had infected other sectors in the region, including education and taxes.

The general allocation funds for education and public works have apparently become sources of corruption for public servants. A bigger part of the general allocation funds are disbursed through local executive have been manipulated to enrich legislators through distribution tot heir own electoral districts.

The cartel phenomenon appears when political party elites function as rent seekers hunting for budgetary funds in Cabinet portfolios, legislative budgets and state-owned enterprises to meet their financial requirements.

Political parties have even forced mutual transaction ties and developed transactional politics with the business sectors. Both sides need each other for mutual benefit and collaborate in local elections.

As a result, all development projects have been taken by companies to local elites and regional heads this has been possible because most regional heads have appointed members of their success team to strategic positions in the government.

Meanwhile, political dynasties had also made the country more vulnerable to political corruption. This trend has appeared not only in previous regimes, but also in the current administration.

Such complex politics made it increasingly difficult to fight political corruption, prompting law enforcers to be more selective to handling graft case. This makes it difficult for the President to bring to court bib-time grafters.

A pro-government coalition that was set up was also seen as a chance of political corruption, considering that coalition members use this to negotiate for positions and projects.

There are suggestions for government to initiate party income reforms through a revision of political party law. Party members should be ordered to pay monthly or annual dues, or to be allowed to receive public funds following budget audits and under the precondition that that results must be announced to the public.

There as also calls for political funds should no longer be controlled by party leaders and treasurers, but must be managed professionally. Political campaigns during local and general elections have to be designed and limited through the media with equal opportunity for efficiency and security reasons. This method can minimize misuse of money, restrict rent seekers and lead the country develops a healthy and prosperous democracy.

These are logical moves, but unfortunately this is been pushed in Indonesia because of the unabated corruption despite a promise by President Susilo Bambang  Yudyohono to end corruption in his country when he won against the traditional politicians.

His call for reforms initially gained international support, but it appear that after seven years in power, corruption continues to thrive in his country.

This is one lesson for President Aquino, who just like his  Indonesian countrpart,  looked gung-ho in his anti-corruption measures in an effort to restore investors confidence to his country. Sad to say,  the  Philippines and Indonesia are continually wracked with the  same culture of corruption having been  institutionalized in the  political system.- Joel Paredes

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