MANILA: Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino on Thursday warned that if corruption would remain unabated, it would continue to breed corrupt leaders feasting on the moral fibre of society and institutions.
“Corruption cannot be eliminated by just sending a few erring officials to jail or by exposing a faulty contract or by removing a single oppressive tyrant,” Aquino told delegates to the 5th conference of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (Gopac).
In this light, Aquino cited the urgent need for parliamentarians to enact laws that would introduce major reforms and institutionalise the campaign against corruption besetting much of the world.
“Reforms cannot be mere blips on the radar,” Aquino emphasised, “so they must usher in an enduring mainstream of good, honest governance.”
The international conference, which is to end on Saturday and hosted by the Philippine Senate at the Philippine International Convention Centre in Metro Manila has attracted parliamentary leaders from more than 70 countries to tackle the issue of corruption.
Aquino cited as an example Philippine efforts to eliminate pervasive corruption particularly in the bureaucracy by filing criminal charges against his predecessor former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo is under hospital arrest for the non-bailable complaint of plunder, which also carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment under tough Philippine laws.
The same campaign, he pointed out, also resulted in the ouster in May of then Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona by the Senate sitting as an impeachment court for unexplained wealth.
Such cases have an undeniable impact on the cultural milieu, Aquino said, but warned these would not help stop completely the return of corruption and patronage politics.
He pointed out that without structural reforms, another corrupt president might one day take the reins of power or another chief justice might one day again betray the public trust.
“Only through legislation,” Aquino stressed, “can the bedrock of inclusiveness and positive meaningful change be set.”
He also disclosed similar successes in his commitment for the “straight and narrow path” through the implementation of major reforms and transparency in government departments and agencies.