May 30, 2012
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Corona Conviction is not a Deterrent to Corruption
Malacanang and its paid hacks in media are now making a mountain out of a molehill. They say that the conviction of Renato Corona by the impeachment court is a triumph of democracy and a cleansing of the bureaucracy. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The telenovela that was the impeachment of Corona ended with a predictable and lackluster climax, leaving the masses unentertained and not craving for more. The single and simplistic moral lesson of the story: “tell the truth in your SALN”.
Despite the long proceedings, the Senate could only prove one fact: Corona did not properly disclose his dollar deposits in his SALN. Hence, its verdict rested on the sole issue of “non-disclosure”, covered by Article 2, which it raised to a “culpable violation of the Constitution”.
In so doing, the complaint, reduced to Articles 2, 3 and 7 during the deliberations, was further narrowed down to “non-disclosure” (Article 2, paragraph 2.2). It did not determine if such cash assets were ill-gotten or acquired illegally, leaving unanswered the people’s questions on “ill-gotten wealth”, “court decisions for sale”, “misconduct and corrupt practices”, etc., etc. The result was a “narrowing down” not to focus on more substantial issues; the case was watered down to insignificance.
The respondent’s admission of non-disclosure was enough for the prosecution and the senator-judges to obtain a guilty verdict. They did not use Corona’s waiver of his dollar deposits to put such bank accounts under scrutiny. Hence, it is clear as daylight that the real intention of the impeachment court was not to expose and punish immoral conduct and corrupt practices in government but to merely remove Corona in the Supreme Court, to replace an Arroyo crony with an Aquino lackey in the judiciary.
If the impeachment court truly wanted to cleanse the bureaucracy, it should have let the sun shine in the dark and shadowy corridors of power. Let the people know how Corona acquired his millions of dollars; how Lucio Tan compelled the Court to flip-flop on the FASAP (Flight Attendants and Stewardesses Association of the Philippines) case; how much perks and privileges are given by PAL to members of the Supreme Court.
But it did not; the impeachment court stopped in its tracks. It did not go beyond the question of non-disclosure. To the people, especially the workers and the poor, we believe that they did so because further investigation would reveal their modus operandi, the prevalent malpractice of officials in the bureaucracy who use their power and influence for economic and personal gain.
Hence, the conviction of Corona would not be a deterrent to corruption since no “crime” other than “non-disclosure” was established. While government officials should properly disclose their properties in the SALNs, a statement of how much one owns is not enough. Public accountability requires public scrutiny on how such wealth was acquired. Therefore, we reiterate our demand for DISCLOSE ALL, for the full disclosure of all bank records and financial transactions by all government officials – a political reform that would test the Constitutional provision on “sovereignty”, if all power and authority truly resides in and emanates from the people. #