Saturday, November 7, 2009


Corruption is wrong. We all know that. We protest vehemently against the abuse of power by public officials. We know that what they are doing is unlawful, unfair and unjust.

However, the problem lies not only with those in power; The blame is shared with the very society that embraces it. It is obvious that when a powerful official takes a bribe from a company in order to promote the latter's interest that there is a wrong being done. If these incidents are found out, there is outrage, but there is also resignation. People seem to see corruption as a fact-of-life, and do their best to live with (and sometimes exploit) it.

Let's say you are driving and beat a red light. A policeman comes eagerly and practically announces that he will take P500. You accept, for you want neither a mar on your record or the hassle of reacquiring your license. You go on your way, both annoyed with the necessity of a bribe, and relieved for not having to go through the bothersome business. We would call the policeman corrupt for receiving the bribe, but what do we call the one who gave it? Is he victim or accessory to a crime?

What about a man who has a lot of connections. He exploits these connections: For example, in order not to pay for exorbitant customs taxes, he asks someone he knows to waive it? Connections are valuable here in the Philippines; Patronage is a common thing to both those with and without clout. It is used to obtain mercies unavailable to the common man, and entails a debt of loyalty to the petitioner.

Lastly, it is not only those in government who will lie, cheat and steal to get money from other people. There are thousands of scammers and fixers who, though they decry those they elected for appropriating funds meant for public interest, prey upon both unsuspecting and willing individuals for coin. They simply say that they are trying to make a living.

We live in a culture where corruption is rampant. It is not simply a social evil, it is an inevitable necessity that reaffirms itself everyday.

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