Integrity and honesty

"Why do we elect people without them?"



President Duterte has continued his attacks on the clergy.

First he said they should be robbed and killed for stealing from the Church. Now he says they are stupid because they take the vow of celibacy. He says 80 percent of the clergy are gay. What was his basis for that, I wonder.

The President says priests are stupid because they see beautiful women but cannot marry them.

I don’t know why Duterte is fixated on bishops and priests. He claims they use the pulpit in attacking him for his war against illegal drugs and then invoke the separation of Church and state.

But if you look at the Constitution, the doctrine of separation of Church and state is focused on the state not favoring a particular religion.

Duterte forgets that the Church is duty-bound to get involved in matters of morality – killings, for example, in the name of the war against drugs.

As for priests being stupid for being celibate, that is part of their sacrifice. If priests commit sexual abuse, then that is another matter.

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Presidentia daughter Davao City mayor Sara Duterte Carpio says she was reprimanded by her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman, for her arguments with the opposition on the issue of honesty.

Certainly, as far as right-thinking people are concerned, any candidate for public office must have honesty and integrity.

Article XI of the 1987 Constitution says public office is a public trust. Public officers must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.

In addition, candidates must also have a high standard of morality. For example, officials should not be cheating on their wives or living with their mistresses.

I have been a journalist for a long time and I have never seen as many immoral leaders as I do now.

This is the greatest tragedy of our nation. We elect people we cannot trust.

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We blame people in government for the cycle of corruption. It has defied solution even by well-meaning presidents.

But how does, for instance, a congressional candidate recoup an investment of P300 million?

I have friends in Congress who tell me that people line up at their doorsteps to ask for money for anything—lunches and dinners, birthdays and anniversaries, basketball uniforms, livelihoods. If they don’t give the people what they want, they are branded as ingrates.

Some congressmen put up tents outside their homes for their constituents. They come and expect to be fed breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus be given money for the fare home.

This is why there is corruption in government. This is why the cycle is vicious.

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Malacañang, through Spokesman Salvador Panelo, says Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager Alexander Balutan was fired on allegations of corruption. He hinted that Balutan engaged in monkey business in the granting of licenses to operate small-town lottery to replace jueteng.

But Balutan said he stepped down because he could not stomach what was going on at his office. This was the official accused of having a P10-million Christmas party at Shangri-La Hotel.

The matter should be investigated not just by Congress but by the National Bureau of Investigation.

* * *

What ever happened to the investigation of alleged conflict of interest of Solicitor General Jose Calida for having business interests in a security agency that has contracts with some government agencies?

Isn’t there a whiff of corruption there, too?

Topics: Alexander Balutan , Rodrigo Duterte , 1987 Constitution , Sara Duterte Carpio , Salvador Panelo , National Bureau of Investigation , Jose Calida
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