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WHO has been jailed for corruption in this country? In its search for answers, the Philippine Threshold Program launched a study on “Time Served for Corruption” covering 118 cases from 2001 to 2008 of public officials who had been prosecuted by the Ombudsman, convicted by the Sandiganbayan, and sent to jail after the Supreme Court upheld their convictions.

WHEN IT comes to hailing to jail alleged crooks in the military and police, the Ombudsman practically accords star-rank officers a mere slap on the wrist. Only 19 generals of the Armed Forces have actually been prosecuted for alleged corruption in the 22-year history of the Office of the Ombudsman.

ALLEGATIONS OF millions of pesos given and received as send-off money to a string of Armed Forces chiefs of staff have been traded on the floor of Congress. The charges have been triggered by the trial for plunder and bribery of former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia that has been whittled down to a much-maligned plea bargain deal.

NUMBERS – people, cases, funds – are a messy, maddening mix in the courts. The numbers defy all myth and romance about the majesty and dread that literature ascribes to the men and women in robes, and indications are they pose a perpetual challenge for the administrators of the country’s judicial system.

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