Philippines: National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) – Postponing the May 2020 Barangay and Sanggunlang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) remains inadequately justified, and will extend terms of office without voters’ consent (25.09.2019)
I write what I like.
Well, it is just me, but I am not surprised anymore, but the Office of the Vice President Leni Robredo had first in 2016, under used funds, but in 2017, the same office cannot deliver the supporting documents in time. That is just weird, as this is the next-highest public office under the President. It isn’t merely public servants in a get-away and remote island dozens of miles away from Manila. No, this is one of the highest regarding places close to the Malacañang. Therefore, that this office is under scrutiny for their practices are not a good look.
“MANILA – The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged cash advances for local travels made by personnel of the office of Vice President Leni Robredo that were not liquidated within 30 days. In its annual audit report on the Office of the Vice President, the COA said traveling expenses of the agency amounted to P26.446 million for local travel and P953,550.75 for foreign trips in 2017. Delays in liquidation ranged from two days to 116 days” (Ayalin, 2018).
It is hard to believe that the OVP employees and secretaries, public officials in general are that lax with recites and with transactions papers, that they are losing it or forgetting to fill the forms for 116 days. They just don’t do that, unless it is deliberate. You don’t wait months upon months to deliver what your obligated to deliver. That is what you do in a public office and to prove your spending of the state coffers. That is all natural. Unless, you want to hide your spending and usage of the funds. Since using up to 116 to show where the money is spent is ruthless at best.
That VP Robredo should feel ashamed, she should, as her office is not following standard practice. Even if they might have cleared the accounts and the funds, that has been in question. Still, it opens up a huge level of doubts and possible misuse of state funds. Because, if the employees and the officials within the office are using so long to fill the forms and prove the spending. Than, in practice, it can go to mistresses, to pay for businesses or even perks beside the offices. Who knows right? They might spend it elsewhere and not on local travel as part of the job. Since the proof of that is coming months later and are later proven.
At this point, when the COA can find this maladministration and this lack of compliance with the codes of conduct as public servants/officials, you know there are underlying problems and somewhat something else beneath numbers. If there was even more to question, it should be digging into as well. Since these offices could be doing more with the funds they are getting. This is just the travel expenses and the advanced payouts, what about the salaries itself or the other perks as the high office it is?
That should be real question and since the COA is flagging it and the OVP says they have complied. Why should COA not have the proof of the real transactions, while the OVP trying to clean their hand of dirt? They have already not complied and not shown character, they are already proving lack of trust and lack of care for public funds. Peace.
Ayalin, Adrian – ‘COA flags delayed liquidation of OVP cash advances; Robredo’s office says amounts ‘fully liquidated’’ (29.06.2018) link: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/29/18/coa-flags-delayed-liquidation-of-ovp-cash-advances-robredos-office-says-amounts-fully-liquidated
There been reports of violence, killings and even arrests as the public are preparing to go the polls. After my calculations over 20 people have died in incidents connected with the elections. Therefore, the elections has already cost lives, which shouldn’t be necessary, in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections of 2018 or in election for that matter!
Let’s hope the added military and police in the streets will make it peaceful, also the ban of fire-arms and alcohol can secure all of it. That the public holiday the election day can be plus. Even as the possible pay-offs on Saturday and Sunday, may sway voters in their directions, as the incumbents and others are trying to secure their post for this term. Let’s hope people go for the ones, who is less corrupt and the ones with integrity, even as the posts are paying little. However, it is a elected public office, so your not supposed to take that for wealth, but for will of serving the community. Even in the smallest office as a captain and councilors at the local Barangay. Your not supposed to enrich yourself or your clan. You are supposed to serve the community.
Let’s hope and pray for peaceful affairs and not more loss of lives. This is small local positions, this is not an election for the Parliament, like the Representatives and Senators even. These are the position in the local council and local government levels. Therefore, lets hope the candidates, the local security officials and that the volunteers trained by the COMELEC are ready for the elections. Make them as fair as possible, and that they make sure that, this a credible election. Even as there are some irregularities that I have mentioned in a previous post. But let’s still be hopeful.
We can hope and live in these days, that the Security Officials and that the ones contesting are acting within reason, as well as the polling staff will act according to protocol and not rig it. There will always be some who wants to take advantage of a situation, but that doesn’t mean everyone. Like there are reports from various provinces that the Barangay’s haven been frenetically candidates buying votes. Therefore, this may sway the electorate to one direction from another. As well as in certain Barangay’s there are many unopposed, meaning they will go straight back to office without any real contest. These are the bad signs connected with the sad deaths. However, not all are, so let’s still be a bit hopeful.
But let’s hope for peaceful election day, let’s pray for safety of all people and also, for a credible affair, where the best candidates wins. Peace.
Just as the President has ordered, a holiday for the Barangay and SK Election on the 14th May and the short campaign season are starting in two days. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) have been reported to lack volunteers for being Pollwatcher’s during these elections. The PPCRV has announced only to have 70,000 out of 370,000 needed personnel. This people needs training and are to assist the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Therefore, the authorities has a lot of work to do, to secure the ballots and the elections in the coming days. If these reported numbers are true, as the elections has already been postponed more than once since October 2017.
We already know the COMELEC has saved a lot of headache with the Press Release in January 2018, where they stated: “The Commission on Elections is set to use the already printed October 23, 2017 official ballots, accountable and non-accountable forms for purposes of the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections in an effort to save public funds and government resources”(COMELEC, 18.01.2018). That just begs the question if they can fill in new names on the ballot or if the candidates was pre-fixed for this election? Because times change, and someone might drop their candidate between the October 2017 and the May 2018.
Therefore, there are some hurdles for perfection concerning governance, though understandable from a budgetary standpoint. That is just from the offset questions that can be risen. That the applications and candidates for these elections might differ from the previous ones of last year.
The state clearly has postponed already twice, so they are in need of holding it. So they have legitimate local government bodies within the Republic. However, the simple questions, that are stated these days comes quickly to mind. When the Commissioners will lack PollWatchers.
There are 42,026 Barangays around the Republic, meaning there is in dire need of brief and quick teachings of process and protocol of Pollwatcher’s to overlook the election. To secure the credible results and secure a legitimate local government in and around the country. If there were only two polling stations in each Barangay, which is most likely to small of number, then the need for watchers would be 84,000 of them. However, the PPCRV asked for the estimated 370,000 and that has to be achieved.
A good thing about this election is the direct spending limit for candidates, as the incentive to spend money to buy voters should become less evident, even if previous elections has been filled with kick-backs and promises. “The spending limit for the #BSKE2018 is 5 pesos per voter in the barangay where the candidate is running for office. For Example: if Barangay X has 3,000 registered voters, then the spending cap for candidates running in Barangay X is 3,000 x 5 pesos, or 15,000 pesos. In the same example, if neighbouring Barangay Y has 20,000 voters, then the spending cap for Barangay Y candidates will be 20,000 x 5 pesos, or 100,000 pesos. Note that the spending limit is based on REGISTERED VOTERS, not population” (COMELEC, 2018).
I hope for good and clean campaigns, without too much interference and issues that overshadow the democratic process. However, you never know, when the Narco-Listed and Hot-Spots list are coming in a narrow time frame concerning the official holiday announcement.
We can just hope that the candidates are prepared, all the electoral bodies and that the Electoral Officials and everyone involved will deliver a credible election, where the will of the public happens and not predetermined results. There are some pieces you can question, because it leaves doubt in the voting material, but that might be altered to fit this compared to the ones in October 2017.
Let’s hope and see, hopefully the ones who has the most drive, talent and are accountable to their public. Get their places locally, not just political dynasties, and their narrative to control the pockets of their local barangay. Peace.
“President Duterte’s unwavering political resolve to defeat corruption and bring about positive change makes our efforts all worthwhile” – Carlos Dominguez III
On the 14th May 2018, the Barangay and Sangguniang Elections are scheduled to take place in the Philippines. Therefore the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) are preparing elections. This is the local elections for the local government, meaning wards and municipalities are preparing for the coming elections, where mayors, councilors and governors are elected. Therefore, this is vital for the local democracy and the city halls. Also for the parties and the citizens as a whole to see the state of affairs and the leadership. If they need renewal of the incumbents or need new blood to generate change. If the citizens locally can change out the old and get fresh eyes to local questions and budgets. To secure better service delivery.
The good news from the Central Government and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are preparing this for the election and future leadership of the Local Government:
“As part of the DILG’s preparations for the forthcoming Barangay Elections this May, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Ano is directing all incumbent punong barangays to conduct an inventory of barangay financial records and properties under their custody from the start of their term of office up to the present” (…) “Ano issued the directive this early to ensure smooth and systematic transition from the outgoing barangay officials to the incoming newly elected or re-elected barangay officials come June 30” (…) “This is also part of our efforts to sustain transparent and accountable local governance at the barangay level and to further ensure that all concerned barangay officials exercise due diligence in using barangay funds and properties,” he said” (…) “Under the directive, a Barangay Inventory Team (BIT) shall be created in each barangay to be chaired by the punong barangay. Its members shall include at least two kagawads, a barangay secretary, a barangay treasurer, a bookkeeper or city or municipal representative, and at least two civil society organization (CSO) representatives, preferably from a faith-based organization or members of the Barangay Development Council” (…) “Part of the functions of the BIT is to ensure the completeness of all barangay properties, financial records and documents (BPFRDs). BPFRDs include legislative and administrative records, transcript or minutes of meetings, list and status of complaints filed before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, updated registry of barangay inhabitants, list or inventory of current local or international development assisted projects, and all other documents containing barangay transactions” (DILG, 2018).
So this directive made by Minister Eduardo Ano is clearly setting up guidelines and the protocols to secure the funds of the Local Government. The new officials will have to keep the books and records of spending or financial transactions. This so the local officials cannot embezzle and misuse the public funds. This is yet another measure to stop corrupt behavior by President Rodrigo Duterte who has already established an Anti-Corruption Commission or the Philippines Truth Commission (PTC) in October 2017. The Philippines already have the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), who was established in 2003 to also combat corruption, but this is made strictly for the ill-behavior in the Department of Finance. You also have the Office of the Ombudsman who has a mandate, which is specified to this: “The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties (Sec. 15, R.A. No. 6770)” (Ombudsman.gov.ph – about us – Mandate). Final institution to look into the Finances and Assets of the Government concerning corruption is the Commission of Audit, the Komisyon ng Pangsuri. Which is also mandated to examine, audit and settle all accounts of the government. Check if the local authorities are following procedure or if they have overpaid for their services.
So Ano with the directive with Local BIT within every Barangay plus the already sufficient monitoring agents of RIPS, Ombudsman, COA and PTC. There should be such amount of measures to stop graft, corruption and kickbacks. Even if someone will always try to use their power for favors, build the most fantastic house in field outside of town or just making sure Mayor can use the ATM at the City Hall more than anyone else. Now they have the BIT to make sure the jobs of COA, Ombudsman and PTC is easier. Since the Barangay has to make sure their portfolio and their assets are verified before a transition. The local government has to deliver stocks, accounts and the lists of properties. To prove what they do have and not hide funds away from the Central Government. Clearly, this is a trick to make sure the Public Officials doesn’t misuse or hide information, values that the tax-payer pays for or even funds that embezzled from the public coffers.
If mayors or Barangay officials has misused funds and cannot account for the funds before the election. There are several bodies that can investigate it and if it is big enough, the Department of Finance might send others too. What this is a sign off, is that the Philippines are trying to tackle the amounts of corruption and known behavior it has had in the past and present. So that all the different parts of the government has to use even more effort to be able to get away with corruption. That the state now even makes list of inventory, funds and assets in general at the Barangay level. Proves the will of combating it and using stronger means stop it. It isn’t just words, since it is done right before elections. Therefore, the bragging lists and the possible truths of stocks can come forward. Because if the Barangay officials lie and someone else get elected. Finds nothing in the account. Clearly, its starting to report the previous local official to either of the bodies fighting corruption. So that the Barangay can get back the funds and assets the previous ones took from the state. Peace.
DILG – ‘Año to brgy chiefs: Prepare inventory for turnover to next brgy officials’ (08.02.2018) link: http://www.dilg.gov.ph/news/Ao-to-brgy-chiefs-Prepare-inventory-for-turnover-to-next-brgy-officials/NC-2018-1017
“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
Thieving never stops through systematic and planned behaviour of state officials and government men and woman who wishes a short-cut to earning the big-bucks. It is an international problem. Again I will, blatantly address recent cases because this is something that doesn’t stop. Because of the greed and wish to be rich, in our time and before people and leaders isn’t happy with an ordinary life; they want to live in luxury instead of in normal household. Therefore they go to the extent of making sophisticated ways of trading and using government funds to steal and corrupt systems on their own behalf. Instead of delivering the service and institutions the citizens are supposed to have gained with this money and taxes. Here are some cases!
Back in time the Olympics we’re also corrupt:
“The fact is that even this Olympic truce often broke down,” says Large. “Famously in 364 BC when soldiers from the city of Elis actually invaded the Olympics grounds in order to retrieve protection rights over the games, that had been taken away from them in the years before. So there was a bloody battle going on right during the wrestling competition” (…) “The Spartans were also a problem,” adds Large. “They had been banned from the Olympics for many years. They themselves thought the Olympics, in any event, were not bloody enough for their taste. But they did show up in the 420s and they got themselves banned once again for extra-curricular fighting.” (…) ““It’s often assumed somehow these ancient Games were purer than the modern ones,” Large concludes. “In fact, if anything they were even more corrupt, perhaps.” (Woolfe, 2016).
Cashgate of Malawi continues:
“Seven cabinet ministers are reported to be implicated in the K577 billion (about $856 million) financial analysis report of what has been dubbed the Capital Hill ‘cash-gate’ scandal, named after the seat of government” (…) “He added that he had not received any names in connection with the audit query as yet” (…) “Last week I sent Chief Secretary to Auditor General [to get names] b,” said Mutharika, adding that he did not have any name of a minister” (…) “Where they [media] get the names I don’t know,”he said” (…)“If anybody has got names please bring them to State House, I would like to see them and action will be taken,”Mutharika said after being asked by one citizen during the program when he will act on the rotten ministers and cronies” (Chiluga, 2016),
“Speaking about perceptions currently enveloping the political atmosphere in Guyana, Rohee said the subject is of importance to any society. “Perception is important in any society. As they say, perception is reality, and I’d like to emphasise that. And we can’t view that selectively; it is a general, universally accepted social and psychological phenomenon, that perception is reality,” he said” (…) “It is not for me to say that. Why should I say that? That is a general perception out there,” (…) “Said he: “They are helping to reinforce that perception; when we were in government and now that we are in the Opposition. And now the government is being driven by media houses to deal with that matter by setting up SARU [State Asset Recovery Unit]. So let’s take it from there.” (Singh, 2016).
“CENTRAL Division police arrested a building contractor on Friday as he attempted to bribe a Local Government councillor who had cautioned him about substandard work on a project in the district” (…) “The Fyzabad contractor was arrested at the office of People’s National Movement (PNM) councillor for California/Point Lisas, Alif Rodney Mohammed, at around 10 a.m” (…) “Mohammed said he was offered a $1,000 bribe to turn a blind eye to shoddy work on a project in his electoral district” (Kissoon, 2016).
In the Philippines:
“THE Office of the Ombudsman affirmed the indictment of Cebu Provincial Board Member Celestino “Tining” Martinez III and former Bogo City treasurer Rhett E. Minguez over allegedly irregular release of fertilizer fund amounting to P6 million in 2004” (…) ““As signatories, respondents should have raised reasonable questions on the legality or regularity of the transaction,” said Morales in her order” (…) “The Ombudsman also dismissed Martinez III from government service over the same case” (…) “In 2004, the Bogo City Government received six checks totaling to P6 million from the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas for the procurement of fertilizer for rice and corn in 2004” (…) “Government auditors, in their 2006 report, said the foundation failed to liquidate the money. COA’s Audit Observation Memorandum also noted that the foundation failed to submit a list of previous projects implemented and that no accomplishment reports were submitted” (…) “State auditors also pointed out that officials failed to make representations with Sikap Yaman for the liquidation of the P6 million, while the Commission on Audit (COA) named the foundation as the supplier of 250 bottles of overpriced liquid fertilizers in Tuburan in 2004” (Dalipe, 2016).
“Ukrzaliznytsia Head Wojciech Balczun. He wrote: “We will change railway tickets booking system. Also discussed this topic during the board meeting. Moving in the direction of the elimination of so called “commercial booking”, the huge source of abuse and corruption. Like when it is impossible to buy a ticket while trains are going empty” (…) “The commercial agent should take all risks. In one form or another there will be a reservation for vulnerable groups and government authorities. Majority of tickets for the open!” Ukrzaliznytsia CEO stressed” (Censor.net.ua, 2016).
So as seen now the cases are all over. It is one continuation from before from Malawi as the President are wondering how the Media got the hold of names involved in the greatest scandal with government funds except for the Zambian Maize fiasco. The others are proof of how old the corruption of back to ancient Athens and their Olympics. Also actions in the Guyana, Trinidad, Philippines and Ukraine; so the tales of corruption happens everywhere and showing tales that isn’t the Fox News crap or something else biased nonsense. This is just common corrupt behaviour. And there are always more! Peace.
Chiluga, Zawadi – ‘Malawi President to act on corrupt gangsters in cabinet: ‘Give me names of 7 cashgate ministers’ (09.08.2016) link: http://www.nyasatimes.com/malawi-president-act-corrupt-gangsters-cabinet-give-names-7-cashgate-ministers/#sthash.VgmukkdB.dpuf
Censor.net.ua – ‘Ukrzaliznytsia to change railway tickets booking system: majority of tickets to be availabe for open sale, – Balczun’ (10.08.2016) link: http://en.censor.net.ua/news/401159/ukrzaliznytsia_to_change_railway_tickets_booking_system_majority_of_tickets_to_be_availabe_for_open
Dalipe, Gerome M. – ‘Ombud affirms graft rule on Martinez’ (04.08.2016) link: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/local-news/2016/08/04/ombud-affirms-graft-rule-martinez-489427
Kissoon, Carolyn – ‘Contractor held: offered bribe to councillor’ (06.08.2016) link: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20160806/news/contractor-held-offered-bribe-to-councillor
Singh, Raven – ‘Rohee rocks the boat –confirms PPP corrupt perception; declares ‘perception is reality’ (05.08.2016) link: http://guyanachronicle.com/rohee-rocks-the-boat-confirms-ppp-corrupt-perception-declares-perception-is-reality/
Woolf, Christopher – ‘The ancient Olympics were dirty, violent, corrupt affairs. There was even regular ‘doping.’’ (05.08.2016) link: http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-05/ancient-olympics-were-dirty-violent-corrupt-affairs-there-was-even-regular-doping