Press Release
September 24, 2008

Budget insertions not helping RP's corruption image -- Loren

Dubious congressional budgetary insertions like the scandal buffeting the C-5 road extension project will not help clean up the Philippines' international image as a very corrupt country.

Citing worsening international perception of corruption in the Philippines, Legarda urged her fellow lawmakers to "remove the veil of secrecy shrouding the budgetary insertions."

She cited the 2008 Corruption Perception Index, in which the Philippines got a score of 2.3 in a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 meaning the country is perceived as "not corrupt" and 0 as "very corrupt."

Legarda said if the insertions were above board and were not ill-motivated, they would be able to stand public scrutiny, thus congress "should not be afraid to shine a light on them."

"The Senate can not be seen as ever-willing to probe executive department irregularities, but not ones that involve its very members," Legarda said.

"That would smack of a double standard; that would play into some comments about the Senate being unwilling to clean its own house," she stressed.

Senator Panfilo Lacson had averred that the additional allocation of P200 million to the original P200 million budget of the C-5 road project in the 2008 national budget was highly irregular.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, on the other hand, bared some P11.5-billion in road work budget insertions.

"Those are big amounts that should be sufficiently explained to the public by those who had a hand in their inclusion in the national budget," Legarda said.

"If they can prove them to be socially relevant and untainted by corruption, well and good. But first, we must look at them with a fine-toothed comb instead of coming up with blanket assertions of their being clean," she added.

Introduced in 1995, CPI measures the perception of the degree of corruption of a country as seen by business people and analysts.

The Philippines' score of 2.3 is 0.2 percent lower than its CPI score in 2007, and is its lowest ever.

News Latest News Feed