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Pacquiao tells Boy Abunda he'll focus on solving corruption if elected president

By NICK GARCIA Published Jan 28, 2022 8:32 pm

Sen. Manny Pacquiao said that if elected as president in the 2022 polls, his administration would prioritize dealing with corruption as it's been a perennial problem in the government.

"Maniwala ka sa akin," he told Boy Abunda in a one-on-one interview on Jan. 28. "Mahigit isang dekada na akong nasa serbisyo, nakikita ko iyong corruption. Kaya gumagastos ako para tumakbo para ipaglaban ang ating bayan."

"Kung hindi na masusugpo iyan, walang mangyayari sa bansa natin," he added.

But when Abunda asked what specific measures he'll take to address the corruption issue, Pacquiao said it would just come out as a surprise.

"Maraming strategy diyan para wala silang lusot," he said. "Pero hindi ko lang ibulgar kasi magpe-prepare iyan, mga kawatan iyan...Wala silang kawala."

In her own interview with Abunda, Leni Robredo said she will legislate the mechanisms that prevent corruption, such as making government procurement processes transparent via a full disclosure bill.

"Everything the government spends, every contract, should be available to the public," Robredo said, adding that public requests won't be necessary.

As for Ping Lacson's way of combating corruption, he said he'll push for digitalization of all government processes, as it's a means of ensuring transparency. With less human intervention, he believes there would be less "lagayan" or bribery.

Lacson also vowed to not just give ayudas to people but harness their skills to make them "productive citizens" who'll earn the money in full themselves.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., meanwhile, said he'll just "minimize" corruption, noting that it cannot be totally eradicated as it's a "human condition."

"There are dishonest people wherever you go," said Marcos Jr., whose mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos, had been convicted of seven counts of graft involving $200 million (over P10.25 billion). "And there will always be somebody who is trying to finagle the accounts and cook the books."

His father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., also had a Guinness World Record title for "the greatest robbery of a government," with estimated national losses of $5 billion to $10 billion (P256.35 billion to P512.71 billion).

The Philippines recently scored a historic low of 33 out of 100 in Transparency International's global corruption index for 2021. Transparency International's scale indicates 100 as “very clean” and zero as “highly corrupt.”

The country's score was a one-point difference from 2020 and its lowest since 2012. It also dropped two spots to 117th place out of 180 countries and territories.

The 2021 score was also below the global average of 43 and Asia Pacific region’s average of 45.

“With a score of 33, the Philippines is a significant decliner, having lost 5 points since 2014. Since the election of Rodrigo R. Duterte (in 2016), the Philippines has also seen a sharp decline in freedom of association and freedom of expression, making it harder to speak up about corruption,” Transparency International said in its study.