CORRUPTION in the Philippines has worsened, according to the global corruption watchdog Transparency International in its 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). 

An email sent out by Dr Johann Graff Lambsdorff, Chair of Economic Theory of the University of Passau and Senior Research Analyst of Transparency International, said the Philippines was among countries whose ranking fell further in the CPI index. The CPI "ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians… It reflects the views of businesss people and analysts from around the world, including locals who are experts in the countries evaluated," the TI said in its website.    

The lower the ranking, the worse is the perceived corruption in a particular country. In 2004, the Philippines ranked 102 in a field of 146 countries. This year,  the Philippines’ rank was 117, a rank shared by Afghanistan, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Libya, Nepal and Uganda.  There were 159 countries surveyed this year, with Iceland, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore being the top five where there is perceived to be the least corruption. Bangladesh and Chad were at the bottom of the list.

TI said it found two-thirds of all countries surveyed scoring "less than 5 out of a clean score of 10, indicating serious levels of corruption in a majority of the countries surveyed."

Read details of the survey here.

35 Responses to Corruption worsened in the Philippines — Transparency International



October 18th, 2005 at 6:09 pm

“A Fish Rots From The Head Down. . .” Is an old Greek saying, and first entered the American politcal lexicon during the 1988 campaign when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis used it to describe the ethical troubles of the Reagan Administration.

not one of my favorite sayings but i think it applies to our situation.



October 18th, 2005 at 6:16 pm

Transparency International is just stating the obvious. I rest my case.

However, im pretty sure that someone in this blog will try to question the motives & credibility of TI, very typical Arroyo style. 😉



October 18th, 2005 at 8:22 pm

O ayan ha! survey na yan ng taga-ibang bayan baka kung anik anik na naman ang bintang ang ipapalabas ng malacanyang sa mga sinabi dito para lang masabing mali na naman yan. Hay naku! what do we have to expect…namumuno ba naman ang pnaka-magnanakaw dito eh di ganun talaga. isama mo na ako sa “I rest my case”. wala na naman dapat pang patunayan….it’s all over the land…from postdated checks to fertilizer funds. Kaanak-anakan, kaasa-asawahan, kabayaw-bayawan… :)


Chizmosong Pinoy

October 18th, 2005 at 8:41 pm

Yes, thats absolutely true. All of these corruption thing started the moment I was born. Nothing new, but it doesn’t mean we have to blame it solely to the President. How about yong congresman namin, mayor namin na kung makahawak sa lugar parang kanila na ito. Naghari-harian kasi pamilya nila matagal ng politiko sa lugar. Dapat ito ang uunahin pagtatanggalin- mga trapo!



October 19th, 2005 at 12:59 am

Gagay is correct. Sigh* Nothing new nga.

Those who condone and/or participate in graft and/or corruption are only losing their integrity and dignity. Much as they may think otherwise, it DOES NOT make them better people, because they are only perpetuating what is obviously wrong. And like all things that are evil, sooner or later, they end up broken…



October 19th, 2005 at 3:02 am

For sure sasabihin na naman ni Pandak Gloria na ang survey ay di credible at ide-deny na naman nyan na mas laganap ang corruption noong mga nakaraang administrasyon. Ika nga mas nasupil nya ang corruption under her governance!

What’s new? etong gobyernong ito ay wala nang aatupagin kundi magsurvive against people seeking for truth and justice. Puro kasinungalian at pananakot na lamang ang iiral sa bansang sinumpa na yata ng panahon. Sana tamaan ng kidlat ang mga taong mahilig magcorrupt sa gobyerno at nawa’y parusahan sila sa kanilang mga kahayupang ginagawa.

Siguro kung nandito pa ang pamilya ni pandak baka nasa 145 na tayo sa pinaka-corrupt na bansa. Hayyyyy buhay talaga, watda!



October 19th, 2005 at 3:57 am

GMA cannot say that there is more corruption in the past administrations, our rating has been dopping since she took office.

I’m currently watching ANC, medyo tackless talaga itong mad-amang Gonzalez.(DOJ Sec. & Son). Rep. Jun Gonzalez admitted that GMA thinks that the senate is biased and she considers it a “Kangaroo Court”.
This is the reason why she does not want the impeachment to reach the senate. ‘Di pala tackless and tawag dun, katangahan.

No wonder TI gave us such a bad rating, our lower house supports and abets a cheating, lying and stealing president.


tomas tinio

October 19th, 2005 at 4:25 am

I’m not making this up. Really happened to my sis-in-law in Mindanao just a couple of weeks ago. May diprensiya daw ang financial records ng business niya. Dapat daw siyang magbayad ng P9,000+ sa BIR. Pero sabi sa kanya ng BIR opisyal, “Prangkahan lang, magbayad ka ng P9,000+ pero ang resibong ibibigay ko sa yo ay P1,000. Sarado ang kaso mo.” something substantially like that. One case, but I guess this can hardly be described as “isolated.”



October 19th, 2005 at 4:30 am

What has happened to the Tax Evasion case against Lucio Tan? Instead of paying the government his back-taxes, he was even given a 1B rebate. ‘Di ba 20B and utang niya sa BIR?

The DOJ should push for the resolution of Tan’s case as this will greatly help our fiscal crisis. Baka naman kaya ayaw galawin ni Gonzalez si Lucio Tan kasi full support si Tan kay GMA.

*Who owns PAL? ‘Di ba yung trips ng officials natin is sponsored by…..I guess you all know who he is. Talk about corruption…..



October 19th, 2005 at 4:37 am

shinobu said,
October 18, 2005 @ 6:09 pm

“A Fish Rots From The Head Down. . .” Is an old Greek saying, and first entered the American politcal lexicon during the 1988 campaign when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis used it to describe the ethical troubles of the Reagan Administration.

not one of my favorite sayings but i think it applies to our situation.

totally agree…

but before pointing fingers, let us examine ourselves if we are also a party, even in petty ways to corruption. from bribing the police for traffic violation to selling our votes. and even bribing our kids or younger siblings to run errands for us.

may tama sa ating lahat ang report na iyan, hindi lang sa gobyerno!



October 19th, 2005 at 4:40 am

Tomas tinio,

I have a similar story, we have a family friend, he was asked to pay 90,000.00++ in taxes by the BIR but was only given a receipt with 10,000.00 written on it by the tax collector.



October 19th, 2005 at 4:58 am

tomas tinio said,
October 19, 2005 @ 4:25 am

I’m not making this up. Really happened to my sis-in-law in Mindanao just a couple of weeks ago. May diprensiya daw ang financial records ng business niya. Dapat daw siyang magbayad ng P9,000+ sa BIR. Pero sabi sa kanya ng BIR opisyal, “Prangkahan lang, magbayad ka ng P9,000+ pero ang resibong ibibigay ko sa yo ay P1,000. Sarado ang kaso mo.” something substantially like that. One case, but I guess this can hardly be described as “isolated

that is not an isolated case. and believe me, many if not most are encouraged by the business owners themselves. pero there are really thick-faced examiners who solicits it.

the scheme is simple, the examiners (based on regular yearly audit) audit your books, and chances are they would find tax violations committed (as business owners rarely reports everything). examiners provides an initial assessment which including the penalties and interest, would normally double or triple the tax due. this is where the negotiation starts. so instead of paying the whole amount, business owners usually negotiates for a fraction, examiners teach you how to fix your books, assess you anew, with lesser amounts. you pay BIR and you pay the examiners ‘under the table’ somewhere in between the original and new assessments. everybody happy.

when i said encouraged by some business owners themselves is because of this simple logic. sbi ng dati kong boss, suppose tax due is 10M, i’ll reports 2M, BIR assessed for the 8M, pay crooked examiners 2M, presto, 8M savings!

this is the reason why a lot of businessmen are waiting for tax amnesties to be offered by BIR.



October 19th, 2005 at 5:21 am

when i said encouraged by some business owners themselves is because of this simple logic. sbi ng dati kong boss, suppose tax due is 10M, i’ll reports 2M, BIR assessed for the 8M, pay crooked examiners 2M, presto, 8M savings

erratum, i mean 6M savings.


tongue in, anew

October 19th, 2005 at 5:40 am

David Nussbaum, Transparency International’s Chief Executive says ”Leaders must go beyond lip service and make good on their promises to provide the commitment and resources to improve governance, transparency and accountability.”

On all three points, Gloria has failed miserably.

SSturrrike Thurrrreeee!, You’re out!



October 19th, 2005 at 7:28 am

“Gloria has failed miserably” na naman.

Tsk tsk.

Despite corruption being DEEPLY ENTRENCHED in Pinoy society we still in our true to form hollow-headed manner pin responsibility for controlling corruption to a SINGLE PERSON. There is a saying: We don’t need HEROES. We need people DOING THEIR JOBS.

Philippine society is a society that looks to HEROES to doe their job for them, yet there is very little ethic of doing ORDINARY jobs PROPERLY. This is an observation I articulate in detail in the following article:

“To help counter this instinct for self-righteousness we must always remember that Pinoys are famous for pakitang taoism — loosely translated: grandstanding. Before individual Pinoys can get to the point of undertaking individual initiative as a means to personal fulfilment the Pinoy has to learn first to lose individual initiative as a means to gaining social acceptance. Going to church in the Philippines is a glaring example of individual initiative used to further less-than-noble personal ends. ”

The true nature of corruption is but a MERE SYMPTOM of the more underlying dysfunction of Philippine society which is — LACK OF TRUST. We are a LOW TRUST society. Jaime Licauco in an *Inquirer* article pointed out:

“A nation whose policies and rules are based on the assumption that everybody is a cheat and liar unless proven otherwise cannot long endure. Take a close look at our bureaucracy and its rules. It is burdened by elaborate and often unnecessary checks and balances so that nothing ever gets done in the process.”

The opportunity for corruption is aggravated by the draconian control measures imposed on most bureacratic procedure which in turn were implemented because of the entrenched corruption in Pinoy society — A VICIOUS CIRCLE:

Corruption –> Reduced Trust –> Draconian bureaucratic controls –> More corruption

Simple equation, but vicious nonetheless. It’s a circle Pinoy society will NEVER escape unless the more funamental issue of LACK OF TRUST is addressed.

All of this I articulate in detail in the following article:

As a side note. I noticed that the shoutbox has been shutdown. what’s the matter? Too many Pinoys showing the true character of the society they represent?

ha ha! 😀

If you miss “shouting”, you might want to check out our excellent shoutbox on our “What’s New” page here:

Feel free to BE YOURSEVES. 😉



October 19th, 2005 at 11:53 am

Naku naman, kelan pa naging bawal mag expect from our leaders. Thats why they are there to do their jobs honestly and one of them is to implement laws & do proper punishment so we can completely eradicate corruption. Ang mas masama dito, yung mismong mga leaders, relatives and cohorts pa nila ang pasimuno ng corruption, sige sisihin pa rin natin sa mga sarili natin dyan tsk tsk tsk. Dapat dyan ikulong at patayin na ang mga trapo, sila ang nagtuturo sa mga nas nakakabata ng nakakasukang sistema na yan. I still believe that we have some idealistic and patriotic youth who can lead us to a better Philippines and we should start getting our acts together now.



October 19th, 2005 at 3:03 pm

she said…

“This fight against corruption is one of the principal thrusts of the Government. Indeed, one might say, fate has thrust such a goal upon me.”

“My late father President Diosdado Macapagal was known as the incorruptible, and I must continue the work he started decades ago. Also, EDSA 2 which catapulted me into this office was all about People Power against corruption, a historic fight against graft in the highest levels of government. I cannot but follow this EDSA spirit, this courage and determination to fight corruption.”

i say…

yes, fate has given you power in 2001. lusting for power you stole it in 2004. follow the EDSA Spirit you cannot…for courage and determination you undoubtedly lack!

she said…

“…I have decided not to run for President during the election of 2004.”

“If I were to run, it will require a major political effort on my part. But since I’m among the principal figures in the divisive national events for the last two or three years, my political efforts can only result in never-ending divisiveness.”

i say…

yes, you were the cause of division then…and as you have prophesied, your major political efforts resulted in never-ending divisiveness now.

she said…

“My December 30 speech lives up to my core belief in a new politics of leadership by example.”

“Today, we launch an anti-corruption campaign to raise the moral standards in politics and the economy.”

“I came to the presidency in this place, in the midst of a national outcry against corruption.”

“I came to the presidency because of EDSA II. Many ask, what was EDSA II? And I can tell them, it was the most powerful answer of the weak to the corruption of the powerful.

i say…

yes, EDSA II was the most powerful answer then…but your anti-corruption campaign now sorely set the lowest standards because of your leadership by example (a liar, a cheat, and a thief on top surely sent signals below to be the same).

ang sabi niya…

“Kapit-bisig nating pag-ibayuhin ang digma laban sa katiwalian at ibangon ang dangal ng ating lahi…Ito ang pamana ng EDSA – ang laban sa katiwalian.”

“EDSA 1, lumaban tayo kontra sa diktadura at katiwalian. EDSA 2, wala nang diktadura, lumaban tayo kontra sa katiwalian. Ngayong taong EDSA 2005, lumaban pa rin tayo, lalo tayong lumaban. Gamitin natin ang ating pagkakaisa. Gamitin natin ang ating pamumuno para lumaban, labanan, masugpo ang katiwalian. ‘Yan ang ating paraan para sabihin muli, ulit ng ulit, mabuhay ang EDSA!”

ang sabi ko naman…

oo, lumaban tayo noon at nagwagi…mabuhay ang EDSA! lumalaban pa rin ngayon nguni’t sawi…‘pagka’t ‘di na makatuntong ng EDSA!

ang sabi niya…

“Imoral ang pagkamanhid at katiwalian ng pamahalaan samantalang kinakapos ang mahirap sa gamot, paaralan, tirahan at tubig…Kaya narito ako ngayon taglay ang takda ng taumbayan upang pagbuklurin ang sambayanan at makibaka para sa bagong bukas para sa ating lahat.”

ang sabi ko naman…

oo, ginawa mo na noon at patuloy mong ginagawa ngayon…ang imoralidad sa gobyerno! nakaw na kapangyarihan ba ang magbubuklod sa amin? siya rin ba ang susugpo sa katiwaliang namamayani sa kasalukuyan???


to highlight gloria’s lies even more…

GMA’s Speech during the oathtaking ceremonies with Presidential Anti-Graft Corruption Chairman Dario Rama and Bureau of Customs Commissioner Antonio Bernardo
Reception Hall, Malacañang (18 Mar 2002)

“…Our nation has tarried so long in taking on this bull of corruption by its horns. Let us clean up government once and for all. We owe this to the future of our children. ‘Tungkulin natin ito sa dakilang manggagawang Pilipino’…”

bulls—!…gloria’s lip-service at its best…



October 19th, 2005 at 4:59 pm

sorry folks but i don’t agree on TI’s findings. dapat kasi tayo ang sa bottom at hindi ang Chad. to consider, hindi lang pera ang kinurakot ng present administration kundi boto at isip ng mga tao. mantakin niyo naman: She won fair and square!!!!!???????? which simply means she’s trying to make the filth a cake at ito ang gusto niyang ituro sa mga bata?


Duck Vader

October 19th, 2005 at 6:28 pm

Yan ka nananman Benigno. As you can see from the thread of the blog, they are describing systemic and systematic corruption. And blaming Gloria does not mean they don’t blame others as well. Tapos nag-generalize ka na naman about everybody.

So mag-generalize ako din. AS USUAL, kulang na kulang ang analysis mo.

LACK of TRUST. Wow! Ano, sinumpa na naman tayo ng diyos at sabi niya “Kayong mga Pilipino, pupunuin ko kayo ng LACK of TRUST, pero yung mga northwestern EUROPEANS, AMERIKANO, HAPON bibigyan ko ng limpak limpak na TRUST.”

Hindi mo sinagot BAKIT may LACK of TRUST (on the assumption na tama ka). Or using your flow:

Corruption –> Reduced Trust –> Draconian bureaucratic controls –> More corruption

What caused the initial corruption to lead to reduced trust?



October 20th, 2005 at 3:56 am

Corruption can indeed be taxing enough, endless in means not to be limited to just government. Even in sports, institutions like La Salle have had to grapple with what constitute a malady in ways to describe the stench of ‘robbing’ into something somehow, no doubt we’re down yonder the pit stinking corrupt, and smart enough clench few basketball credits, lusot na sana!

However, understanding our way deep in the mayhem will have to dig deep into our pockets, can one tell which pocket is government? Would red plates be enough to howler straying public servants dispensing with government vehicles parked in some sleazy karaoke bars as a malpractice worthy of media hyping?

It’s not deep enough, in fact too shallow an argument to make as basis gallivanting officials using government vehicles as something to make as the resource information valuable enough describe ourselves as really corrupt people, do-no-gooders etc. Undoubtedly, we are just people robbed of our wits bone dry by our colonizers, same people rating us down the pit of shame, am I to be affected by it? Of course not, shame on them!

We were taught things all of which says at one time, we were slaves to this people we call the West, our tutors in the shameless art of corruption!

But being stupid is something else thinking we need to slave some more to be able to delete the stigma of being of the mold of the corrupt, climb up to the ladder of the high and mighty, clean and incorruptible like who?

What we need is a reprieve from being rated all the time by some people, let us plan for ourselves, like remembering ourselves as people descended from rulers, like Rajah Solaiman, Princess Urduja etc. therefore I need not be slave anymore darn are the thief who commands I should rob my people for them, need I say more?



October 20th, 2005 at 7:50 am

Mr. Duck Vader said:
Hindi mo sinagot BAKIT may LACK of TRUST (on the assumption na tama ka). Or using your flow:

Corruption –> Reduced Trust –> Draconian bureaucratic controls –> More corruption

What caused the initial corruption to lead to reduced trust?

In a way you are right that maybe God bestowed an inherent collective LACK OF TRUST on our pathetic lot . Because like everything else, whatever culture we possess today is an accident of history (or rather an accident of the course of history).

The WHY’s of this lack of trust is indeed a complex story, and even the eminent Teddy Benigno himself offers only a superficial explanation:

“A recent survey conducted by Prof. Jose Abueva, formerly UP president, showed that beyond the family, Filipinos hardly trusted anybody. Why? Maybe because the Philippines is an archipelago, splintered into more than 7000 islands. Progress is slow in archipelagic nations because ideas travel much more slowly, as do government services. Language difference and difficulties hinder easy understanding and coordination. Travel by boat takes much more time than land transportation over flat broad plains. Maybe also because we Filipinos have yet to achieve national unity, like the Risorgimento in Italy or successful revolutionary struggles like those of France, America, Russia, China, Japan that destroyed old, mediaeval, archaic systems that sought to choke economic progress.”

And that is the fact. Regardless of the WHY’s that you seem so fixated on, the REALITY is that we are stuck with this rather unsavory feature in our society — A COLLECTIVE LACK OF TRUST. Benigno draws on the be-credentialed (I mention this because Pinoys tend to be fixated on credentials) Francis Fukuyama for further insight:

“Trust is deeply related into industrial culture, adds Fukuyama, and “the creation of those large-scale organizations vital to economic well-being and compe-titiveness.” How can we bolster trust in the Philippines when even our 24 senators do not understand each other? Fukuyama also mentions four outstanding “familistic societies” namely China, France, Italy and South Korea where the family constitute the basic unit of economic organization. But this is also changing now as these countries integrate into the one-currency European Union while China and South Korea grow the muscles of economic empire that need high-trust societies.”

And the following observation arguably is the single biggest factor to why the Philippines is a tried but failed society at best:

“And what is social capital, something we Filipinos have very little of? It is a capability, says Fukuyama, that arises “within a community of regular, honest and cooperative behavior, based on common shared norms, on the part of other members of the community”. What makes social capital different from other forms of human capital? It is “usually created and transmitted through cultural mechanisms like religion, tradition, or historical habit.” The most effective organizations “are based on communities of shared ethical values…Prior moral consensus gives members of the group a basis for mutual trust.” Moral consensus is what we do not have.”

So there you have it my gander-named pal. You do ask the right questions and I am happy to respond as usual. 😀

Finally, to add more credentials to my assertions (as Pinoys do indeed get their kicks from big medals and big credentials), let me cite some little wisdoms from the venerable Nick Joaquin from his essay “A Heritage of Smallness” (a phrase that might go a bit of a way in addressing your fixation on the WHY’s of the assertions I myself make):

“Because we cannot unite for the large effort, even the small effort is increasingly beyond us. There is less to learn in our schools, but even this little is protested by our young as too hard. The falling line on the graph of effort is, alas, a recurring pattern in our history. Our artifacts but repeat a refrain of decline and fall, which wouldn’t be so sad if there had been a summit decline from, but the evidence is that we start small and end small without ever having scaled any peaks. Used only to the small effort, we are not, as a result, capable of the sustained effort and lose momentum fast. We have a term for it: ningas cogon.”

This is a conclusion he made based on his observation that Pinoys tend to THINK small, DO small, and ACHIEVE small. A concept he introduces in the following take:

“However far we go back in our history it’s the small we find–the nipa hut, the barangay, the petty kingship, the slight tillage, the tingi trade. All our artifacts are miniatures and so is our folk literature, which is mostly proverbs, or dogmas in miniature. About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces–and even that grandeur shrinks, or scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts (like a colony of ant hills) rather than one grand labor following one grand design. We could bring in here the nursery diota about the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean, or the peso that’s not a peso if it lacks a centavo; but creative labor, alas, has sterner standards, a stricter hierarchy of values. Many little efforts, however perfect each in itself, still cannot equal one single epic creation. A galleryful of even the most charming statuettes is bound to look scant beside a Pieta or Moses by Michelangelo; and you could stack up the best short stories you can think of and still not have enough to outweigh a mountain like War and Peace.”

So there you have it folks. The reason we fail, and the reason we are CORRUPT. Because we are a SMALL people (hope this phrase is not taken to its literal extreme as most SMALL-MINDED Pinoys tend to do). And this SMALLNESS is reflected in the stature of our country today.

For the complete text of Nick Joaquin’s brilliant essay “A Heritage of Smallness”, watch this space:

The article will be available sometime tonight (Australia time). Stay tuned!! 😀



October 20th, 2005 at 10:09 pm

Quoting Benigno:

The most effective organizations “are based on communities of shared ethical values…Prior moral consensus gives members of the group a basis for mutual trust.” Moral consensus is what we do not have.”

I couldn’t agree more, however what we need to do is perhaps check on ourselves, after having been subject of plunder from first our colonial masters and then on to their chosen overseers, the big business clique, chances are myopic that entrusting ourselves chancing on the highly charged, immune effective morals of technocrats in government so beholden to the tycoons, may be suicidal.

They would be people so immersed in bagging for the World Bank that undoubtedly could cause more harm than good judging from how excuses are cleverly crafted to bamboozle even the best of mind available to steal for them, bag more money squeezed from the poor to be able to perk up the World Bank. I have no doubt in my mind our present system of government is crafted precisely to service the exclusive clique of few big business interest and the World Bank.

Therefore, presidents are just tools of their trade. This explains why in my view blaming ourselves and our presidents may be too shallow, it can’t be it.

Past anomalous transactions of World Bank money loaned to ‘developing nations’ will best explicate why we have people dying by the hordes because of malnutrition. If such loans are to improve the lot of people around the world, I would ‘imagine’ like the late John Lennon that indeed, World Bank is living for the world, no need for hunger.

Well, I said about doing something for ourselves and we are not bereft of exemplary models to emulate, we can follow the lead of the ‘Euro’ model to bridge up the gaping and widening gap of the poorest and the richest. We try to cultivate the business acumen of America and China, Asians for all of Asia without the gun, just business along shared ethical values sharing profits along business partnerships that could include perhaps all of the Koreas and Afghanistan, and why not?

This bring to mind geographies, like much of our problem as a nation strewn wide over an area so huge, all 7100 islands waters in between with no transport infrastructure and by golly, no business plan, can one tell the difference?

Of course, one cannot be swimming across along our trade hopping from one island after another same time as it is ill affordable because of our lacking the consequential money I know the World Bank will not allow extending to us pinning and judging on our credit standing as somebody not bankable, way down the pit of the credit ladder, no can do.

So, we are actually a marooned nation not able to tell which sides of the line are we, the good, the bad or the ugly. This would probably best explain why we over-impose insisting on more taxes so that we can make the World Bank jump with an insidious glee, happy for all I care!

This is terrorism more profoundly dangerous than all the insanities of Al Qaeda and their boss Osama Bin Laden. Why? Because this World Bank policy creates more poverty, very strategic ingredients beneficial to lunatics like Osama.

How about an Asia rail to connect all of Asia with Russian and American money, wouldn’t this be John Lennon’s vision of living for the world? No more hunger, just people living for the world? Imagine…



October 20th, 2005 at 11:43 pm

Budget for office of the Press Secretary 800+million pesos, budget for Ombudsman 100++ million pesos. What is wrong with this equation Madamme Un-Gloria?



October 20th, 2005 at 11:56 pm

With regards to Trust, sa U.S. they don’t trust the government on getting too big and feared of being obstrusive on local and state affair. They don’t trust the governement either in infringing their privacy right etc…


Duck Vader

October 21st, 2005 at 12:14 am

Budget for office of the Press Secretary 800+million pesos, budget for Ombudsman 100++ million pesos. What is wrong with this equation Madamme Un-Gloria?


Kase mas importante na tama ang paraan ng pagsisinungaling kaysa paraan ng paghahanap ng katiwalian sa gobyerno.


Duck Vader

October 22nd, 2005 at 1:08 am

Dear Mr. Benigno:

Thank you for the well-discussed reply. It allows us to conduct more substantive discussion. First of all, I do not believe that God plays dice with the universe. But more than that, a belief that the race has been divinely rigged against us offers no hope, only resignation. It’s personal, but I refuse to accept such premise that we have been divinely handicapped. (But this does not mean I refute temporary natural handicapping due to environmental constraints, as discussed by Jared Diamond. His arguments I am willing to accept, because they are accidental constraints)

I remain fixated on WHY’s because that is the only way we can find out how to create an environment that not only solves this problem but is also sustaining and systematic. For example, a person gets sick often – the near term solution is of course to address the immediate sickness and symptoms (fever, infection, convulsions), but unless we answer the question of why he/she gets sick, then the sickness will recur and we’ll be spending both time and money inefficiently. The same with our country. We’ve all seen the criticism – weak institutions, corruption – that lead to the behavior that you criticize, i.e. taking to the streets if the institutional processes do not deliver the desired outcome. But in the same vein, you say that the reason is culture. I then dig deeper and ask what forms culture. Unless we answer the question of what forms culture, then we all that we will ever do is throw up our hands and say “culture!” and that’s that. I believe that “culture” is the repository of our ignorance, and that we must probe beyond this convenient, loaded, catch-all phrase.

>> Having said that, our next goal then should be to determine where things went wrong. Teddy Benigno, as you observed, had an idea about it, but my opinion he only brushed the real reasons. He is right: we are fragmented, and there are different ways you can look at it, along socio-economic class lines, geographically, ethno-linguistically, or even religiously. (As a side note, his use of senators as examples is erroenous; historically, our political elite has had the ability to communicate, not just linguistically, but using the networks of the elite to which they belong.) But fragmentation alone does not explain it – if you take a look at Europe, it started as heavily fragmented. Napoleon derided Britain as a nation of shopkeepers. In our case, the political elite used the fragmentation against us. The Spanish did it to impose control and then they created a political elite that would work with them to suppress us.

As you have probably seen me write before, I believe that human behavior is largely formed by incentives. We do things because we are motivated by incentives (as well as disincentives) that exist in our environment. I will work longer hours if, in my reasonable belief, that will bring me social benefits (a promotion to a higher rank or position that could give me prestige or power, or maybe even just a better vacation or office view) or economic benefits (a higher salary, more benefits, the prospect of being pirated at a higher salary). If, on the other hand, I am an entrepreneur, I will invest more money and make my business bigger if I believe that the returns will be bigger (which in turn is a function of the size of the market, the amount of competition, the cost of my inputs). So we have to ask what were the incentives or disincentives to the emergence of “culture” that works better for us.

I find Nick Joaquin’s flawed; he wastes a large amount of time on anecdotal examples. Go to Italy or Germany or many of the northern European states, you will find that their industrial/commercial base was built on small businesses; many have remained small and profitable, relative to western enterprises. And most of all, he uses language to camouflage a lack of analysis. And then he uses a lot of improperly linked analogies. Here’s the simple theory. Any kind of large endeavor requires capital, whether organically accumulated or obtained from external sources. Both require predictability in the legal frameworks and systems that allow that actor to be relatively assured that his capital will be protected against theft, expropriation or irresponsible economic policies, and that he will achieve a reasonable return. The Egyptian pharaohs built the pyramids on a combination of coercion and accumulated capital (through a coercive system as well); the Roman Catholic Church built the Vatican through capital obtained from believers; the large enterprises today are built on capital obtained through efficient financial markets (i.e. Amazon, JP Morgan) or capital derived from success in efficient product markets (Wal-Mart, Samsung). The Vanderbilts and Rockefellers built their fortunes on capital accumulated through monopolistic practices. We didn’t have this capital accumulation except for maybe a few companies. I can go on and on, but I’m afraid it will impede my work right now. But I just wanted to give you an idea that observations are not enough, behavior and preferences are explainable and explainable still, and to stop at culture is a cop-out.



October 25th, 2005 at 9:17 am

Off topic:

Mr. Duck, just referring to your post that was directed to me back in October 22, 2005 @ 1:08 am (see the following link):

First of all I think you exaggerate when you say that I harbour a belief that “the race has been divinely rigged against us” and that I therefore “offer[] no hope, only resignation”. Whilst I believe that we were dealt a disadvantaged hand, my assertion is that we RECOGNISE that we were in fact dealt a disadvantaged hand (which is our achievement-incompatible culture) and formulate SOLUTIONS that are BUILT on these recognised REALITIES.

I never invoke God in any of my arguments. And when I say things like “we were dealt a disadvantaged hand”, I mean that figuratively referring to the way nature randomly and impersonally dishes out its resources the way Jared Diamond discusses in his books. I think because Pinoys are inherently “ma-personal”, they are unwilling to accept that whatever virtues or faults they possess is the work of a god who is either happy or angry with us respectively. I think enough is enough with this “it is everyone’s fault (including God’s) why we continue to languish in absolute fauilure”. Let’s start looking for more logical attitudes that are grounded on the virtue of PERSONAL and COLLECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY.

You said that “I believe that “culture” is the repository of our ignorance, and that we must probe beyond this convenient, loaded, catch-all phrase.”

Agree 100% and while I do come up with my own wacky theories about how we ended up with such a dysfunctional culture, I believe my mission in the world is highlighting these dysfunctions. The reason why I liberally quote stalwarts of scholarliness (i.e. those who possess the shiny medals and credentials that never fail to dazzle Pinoy minds) like Teddy Benigno, Nick Joaquin, various journalists, and thinkiers like Diamond and Fukuyama, is because they are supremely qualified to make the analyses they make on the WHY’s.

And yes, people are motivated by incentives. Finding the right incentives to motivate Pinoys requires an understanding of the cultural fabric of our society. As I have demonstrated, I make use of one example of such incentives — CREDENTIALS. Because Pinoys society is such a small-mindedly CREDENTIALIST society, I therefore need to resort to quoting big people to augment what I believe are my own arguments that are otherwise logically sound enough to stand up on their own logical merit. If you will notice I only need to invoke my favourite “Cite specific examples of…” challenges to drive detractors up the wall.

I do beg to differ on what you stated is a “flaw” in Joaquin’s thinking, where you say that “Go to Italy or Germany or many of the northern European states, you will find that their industrial/commercial base was built on small businesses; many have remained small and profitable, relative to western enterprises.”

If you will look at the products and merchandise built by these small Italian and German businesses, you will note the vastly superior quality and design of these products. Lamborghinis and Aston Martins are still hand-built in job shops the same way our jeepneys and ohner-type buggies are. But the astronimical prices that the former commands speak for themselves. A relative of mine visited us here in Sydney last month and one of their “pasalubongs” was a small wooden figurine of a quintessential Pinoy farm folk (sporting the classic salakot and katya garb). The first thing I noticed is the way the foot of the figurine was hastily glued onto its base and was starting to come off. And this was a product straight out of a box! How can we expect our products to command the respect (and therefore the $$) when we can’t even build top-tier quality into the simplest of wooden merchandise??

Of course the Italian supercar automakers have more capital. But that capital was built up over the years as their products earned more respect, commanded more dollars, and consequently, increased their respective brand equities, which in turn catches the eye of astute investors. Capital is not something that magically happens. It is the result of the CREATION OF VALUE. And I won’t blame you if this is a concept that is difficult to grasp because we are, after all, a people pathetically reliant on external capital infusion to sustain our domestic commerce (not to mention our international commerce).

Why do you think the Catholic Church is so good at fleecing its constituents for donations? You guessed it! BRAND EQUITY is at work here too. The Catholic Church happens to own one of the most valuable brands on the planet — GOD HIMSELF. It owns the rights (at least in the eyes of Catholics) to the distribution and interpretation (into DOGMA) of the Word of God and the doctrine of papal infallibility once encapsulated this brand equity. It uses this brand in the same way another world class brand owner — NIKE — convinces people that shoes made for $10 in Vietnam are worth $200 to the average American consumer. Back in the middle ages in Europe, people used to BUY graces from the Church. Today in the Philippiens, there continue to be vestiges of such attitudes.



October 25th, 2005 at 10:39 am

Yeah, go go fight for what you know is right!!!! Congrats to Mr. Abad, one of the real filipino hero.Just keep up the good works.



October 26th, 2005 at 6:56 pm

Had an interesting day today.

At about 10.00 this morning I looked out the window of the office and noticed two PNP cops pulling cars over for no apparent reason. The reason soon became apparent. To make money. And boy it seemed they made ALOT. It was incredible!! I’m talking about 50 to 60 cars in the space of 2 hours. Not a single person seemed to object. Every single one of them dished over cash to avoid a ticket for an infringement that never occured. Some even patted the cops on the back after handing money over to them for NOT BREAKING THE LAW. UNBELIEVABLE. I was so appalled, I asked my secretary to get the company DV camera out and record what I was seeing on tape (Is there anyone here who wants it for publication?).

In the afternoon, a representative from a freighting company sees me and offers the company special services; they can bring in goods bypassing customs!!!

How on earth can we expect to battle corruption!!! The complainants are the participants. What a strange state indeed.



October 29th, 2005 at 5:29 pm

Manama, Bahrain



October 30th, 2005 at 6:21 pm

Ladies and Gentleman ,

Corruption begin at home.So if we allow this in every Filipino Families whatever form of activities.Our Country will never prosper that we want to.

Remember a good leader begin at home,I read all your commentaries,opinion that you shared ,a lot of great heroes,writers,speeches and so forth they are worth to read.And I agree to that however we forgot the very basic of our early ages of training at home.HONESTY

The bottom line is regardless of all religion, honesty is one of the fundamental law to SALVATION

I dont agree to that Transparency Int’l comments

Every country has this kind problem only that it cant be noticed becaused they are translated it in other forms.But still Honesty is the enemy without honesty there is no PEACE without Peace ther is no Prosperity

Mabuhay to All



October 31st, 2005 at 1:26 pm

its been a long time since a have visited this site and do a bit of a blog.

medyo busy sa trabaho,kailangan kumayod
medyo nasanay na rin ako sa mga nakikita ko,
medyo nasanay na rin ang tenga ko sa mga nadidinig ko,
medyo o sadyang mahirap na ang buhay Pinas dahil sa korupsyon

kelan nga kaya mawawala ang korupsyon sa ating bansa
kelan ko makikita ang buwis ko na ibinabayad sa ating gobyerno
kelan kaya titino ang mga tao sa ating bansa
kelan ko kaya makikita ang mga Pinoy na taas noo sa kahit kanino
at di kinakahiya ang sarili dahil sa korupsyon


naniniwala ako sa punto mo na sa tahanan nag sisimula ang pagiging leader ng isang tao.Sa tahanan nya nakukuha ang mga ugali na ipinamamalas niya sa kanyang kapwa.Katulad din ng panlalamang pang gugulang pandaraya… ito ay simpleng mukha ng korupsyon.

Maybe the corrupt leaders in our country are born with it
and maybe they saw it in their parents.and maybe thats what they saw in their relatives as well.Maybe these people didn’t see honesty in their homes.They are just happy to get filthy rich and powerful at all cost..

ano nga yung kasabihan:
Ang bagay na ginagawa ng mga bata ay nagiging tama sa mata ng mga bata kapag ginagawa ng mga matatanda.

Sana magtino na ang ating bayan kaawa awa naman ang ating susunod na generasyon.



November 2nd, 2005 at 1:46 pm

All problems [political, economic, cultural] we are facing since the day this republic was born are due to the defect inherent in the system we love to call Democracy where everybody can vote including morons, ignorants… and everybody can run for office including again morons, or people who have no vision whatsoever for as long as they can buy votes from moronic voters! Same people who voted GMA first as senator based solely on name recall Macapagal being our past president.

“Pure Democracy can’t take the intelligence of its electors into account; which means that the voice of an Einstein is given no greater weight than that of an Idiot, and since we have far more Idiots than there are Einteins, we are virtually under a dictatorship of Idiocy.” – Geniocracy,



November 4th, 2005 at 8:03 pm

IF – an easy way out from anything and everything becomes the resolve, corruption is a volture that gnaws…..

300 years plus 45 years of colonialism; 20 years of 1081; ad infinitum of politics; ad infinitum of television and tabloids – how’s that for being ranked as 117th?

justified! spells like a whiz; sure as sunrise; glaring as the sun; perennial as the grass; stings like a bee!


don’t complain!

plant a seed to re-green the hopes!

begin with the man in the mirror!


The Daily PCIJ » Blog Archive » How to deal with corruption metrics like the CPI

September 26th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

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