Apparently it seems that no high officials in government has ever been jailed for graft and corruption, is it because our constitution provides more guarantees on the rights of an accused or is it purely lack of political will on the part of our leaders? Before I answer the question, we better cite the existing situation we have regarding the AFP corruption and analyze this situation. Carlos Garcia of Armed forces of the Philippines was accused of plunder.
The appearance of witness Heidi Mendoza of Commission on Audit became a big help in investigation. They proved that Garcia is guilty. But Ombudsman Gutierrez believed that the allegation to Garcia is weak, or that there’s no enough evidence. She and the special prosecutors proposed a plea bargain agreement with Garcia. The bargain asserts that Garcia will return P135 million of the P300 million that he took. The plea bargain deal was a tacit admission that Garcia was guilty of plunder. Is this how they do things in our country now?
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If you stole and caught guilty of the act, will you just apologize and give the half of it and easily escape the issue? So, where is the justice there? I don’t think that this is fair and just. As a result, many people think that this is the way our leaders do things in our country now. Our country’s justice system is getting worse. The plea bargain entered into by the Office of the Ombudsman through the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) with Garcia is illegal and in contravention of law and the Rules of Court.
After considering the present situation of AFP corruption case, I therefore conclude that the problem is the lack of political will on the part of the leaders. If the government stated that they are only providing more guarantees on the rights of those accused, it is not reasonable because having a political will in our government must incorporate the right of an accused one as included in our laws. Although finding the corrupt officials and investigating them are included, our leaders are having hard time planning what to do with these corrupt officials.
Yes, they have the right to defend their selves and find a proof or evidence that they are innocent. But like the example stated above, my whole concern for this is after the court found out and proved that they are guilty, the next thing to do becomes a big question mark for them because they don’t know what the right thing to do with them and how to punish them rightly or fairly. Wherein, after the court found out that Garcia is not innocent, the government supposed to put him to jail because he stole the funds of government.
But the only offense that the government gave him is the plea bargain which means he will just return to the government the half of what he had stolen. The issue is not about how much did he stole and how much will he return but the unfair justice system of our government. The act or decision of Ombudsman is already a proof that our justice system seems to have no direction. The truth is already twisted and crooked. Garcia did not only cheat one person but he committed an institutional corruption which involves every concern citizen in our country.
This is very clear to be wrong and unfair most especially for us who pay taxes every now and then. Maybe they are afraid of Garcia because of his power and money. I believe that this plea-bargain is bias because the evidence for the plunder case against Garcia was very strong just to lighten his punishment. Though our government is facing many problems like calamities, poverty, unemployment and many more, our leaders must still monitor all the officials to minimize much more problems regarding graft and corruption.
Political will includes the justice for all of the citizens not just for one person because he has a position or he is powerful. So pertaining when the accused one is found guilty, all of the citizens in a state must benefit to this justice as our government priority than the accused one even he has a power or position in the congress. Pnoy Aquino may be sincere and honest with his promise and will to not commit corruption. But his will isn’t enough.
He should do something to make the people feel that he’s working on accomplishing his will. No matter how much you want to achieve your goals, if you don’t act accordingly, you won’t accomplish anything. All leaders must have this political will because it would be worthless if the president is only the one who responds regarding his will. If we’ll talk about the political will of our leaders, they have their will, but they just don’t work adequate to perform it well.