U. S. Criticizes Philippines for Failure to Stop Graft and Corruption
The Philippine Inquirer Reported Today that:
MANILA, Philippines—Corruption remains rampant in the Arroyo administration primarily because of its failure to enforce laws penalizing crooked officials and its withholding of information from public inquiries into questionable government transactions, according to the US State Department.
In its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 2008,” which was released on Wednesday, the US State Department said the culture of corruption in government agencies and the judiciary was among the reasons basic human rights continued to be violated in the Philippines.
“The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the report says.
Right to information
It adds: “The law provides for the right to information on matters of public concern. However, denial of such information often occurred when the information related to an anomaly or irregularity in government transactions. Much government information was not available electronically and was difficult to retrieve.”
But the report also mentions that a number of public officials were prosecuted last year, and that the Sandiganbayan handed down a number of convictions.
The report covers 2008, when George W. Bush was still the US president. But its general introduction refers to the policy of President Barack Obama on human rights, which warns against corrupt and suppressive governments.
It was signed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said “the promotion of human rights is an essential piece of [US] foreign policy.”
Predictably, Malacañang on Friday sought to downplay the report.
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