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Corruption on video

By: Jullie Y. Daza

How is corruption like sex? To answer my own question I’d have to go back to my school days. I never heard “sex” until one week before high school graduation, during a retreat, and I never heard “corruption” until I started on my first job in the newsroom.

In school, what we learned were the opposites of “corruption” – honesty, integrity, decency in dealing with others – and of “sex” – chastity, purity, virginity. Churchly people are afraid to teach sex education because learning might lead to doing, and discussing corruption could tempt the innocent into corrupting or being corrupted. I could be wrong, I’m not an educator.

What little we know about corruption, which is the subject of this piece – not sex, undoubtedly a friendlier topic – we should best leave to lawyers and statesmen to define. For the longest time, the political commentators I read during my youth were quoting, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” without naming the source. A much more contemporary source, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, states clearly, “Institutional corruption starts with personal corruption.”

When the Ombudsman recently partnered with Jollibee to conduct their second video contest among college students on the theme “A Corrupt-Free Philippines,” I could not imagine, if I were a contestant, how I’d frame my story within three to five minutes. A tough order, but maybe not to today’s screen-savvy kids. An indication of how daunting the rules sound is that the first video tilt in 2013 fetched only 100 entries. (For more information:


Deputy Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera, whose name is in the short list of nominees to the Supreme Court, has a tip for those in search of content: “The primary sources of corruption are too many signatures and unclear rules.” In the ‘70s when Hong Kong police corruption was a many-headed monster, the fastest, most effective and lasting solution was to give the cops quality housing. As simple as that. As Mr. Mosquera says, “Deterrence is resource-intensive.” You need money to fight the corruptor’s flashy cash.