Press Release
July 8, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the Arroyo administrations program to lick the corruption problem will remain an empty goal for as long as it does not discard its policy of selective prosecution of grafters.

Pimentel challenged the administration to stop protecting big-time crooks who have powerful connections if it wants its anti-corruption campaign to be credible.

He said the P2 billion that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo supposedly allocated for the crackdown on grafters will only go waste because she lacks the political will to prosecute tainted officials like Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos who is involved in the P1.3 billion election modernization scam and former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, the brains behind the P728 million fertilizer fund anomaly.

No amount of funding support will make the administrations anti-corruption drive succeed for as long as there is no sincerity on the part of the President, Pimentel said.

He made the remarks following the release of 2006 Survey of Enterprises on Corruption conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing that 14 out of 23 government agencies received lower ratings this year on their sincerity in combatting corruption compared with their ratings in 2005.

According to the survey, the Department of Justice suffered the biggest drop (+13 to -20, representing a 33 point decline), followed by the Office of the President (from +10 to -15).

The survey polled 700 managers of business firms in Metro Manila and selected cities in Visayas and Mindanao.

Pimentel said the dismal ratings given by businessmen to the Office of the President and several government agencies in the war against corruption accurately reflects the peoples disenchantment with the Arroyo administration in this area of government concern.

He said the Office of the Ombudsmans recommendation to indict and impeach only Commissioner Resurreccion Borra, out of seven Comelec commissioners who signed the fraudulent MegaPacific poll computerization contract, is a glaring example of selective justice that has become the trademark of the present administration.

The opposition leader said the proliferation of jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling and unabated video piracy indicate an acute failure of the government to safeguard public morality and to eradicate criminality.

Too many people around the President are neck-deep in corruption and she is just too close to some of them that there is no way she can deny she is somehow too tolerant, if not actually involved in it, Pimentel said.

He said President Arroyo has lost the high moral ground to wage war against corruption after she was accused of using the powers and resources of her office to cheat her way to victory in the 2004 presidential election.

Aside from jueteng there is the matter of the fertilizer scam, there is the tainted MegaPacific-Comelec deal, there is Hello Garci tapes, there is the PSALM-YNN shenanigan. The list goes on, the minority leader said. While she is President, there will be no sincere drive against corruption. Day after day, it will be more of the same.

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