Require Officials To Secure A Bond

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) – Officials of both government and private sectors should always try to be proactive, instead of being reactive in their performance of their public service.

As a popular American proverb says, “there are three types of people — those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

If we always wonder what happens, chances are we will end up with an empty bag as in billions of dollars being lost to corruption.

And I have a proposal to stop dead in their tracks corrupt people from further bilking the governments and non-profit organizations under their control.  Any government or non-government official, who has access to the money of the government or non-government organization, should execute an undertaking before a bonding agency that should their government or non-government organization run into deficit because of their illegal, fraudulent, or wrongful conduct, these bonding agencies should automatically refund the money lost to corruption to the government or non-government agency. These officials could not invoke the lame excuse of exercising good faith if they did not exercise caution in hiring qualified personnel and supervising them carefully.

My proposal is like the bond executed by a criminal defendant or respondent in a court of law, who pays a premium to buy bond. In case the defendant or respondent does not show up during the court hearing, the court collects the bond coverage from the bond agency.

Corruption is not homegrown in the Philippines, either. They are everywhere. They happen in the Philippines, in Switzerland and in many countries, including the United States.

Take for instance the billions of pesos being attributed to Philippine Vice President Jojo Binay that have been allegedly dissipated from the coffers of Makati City Hall when he was its long-time mayor.

Or the millions of pesos lost by the Philippine government to three Philippine senators (Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinngoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla), who are currently behind bar and facing plunder charges for siphoning millions from their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into non-existent infrastructure projects.

Pretty soon, there is a third batch of government officials who will be facing the music – Sen. Gregorio “Greg” Honasan, my kababayan (town mate) from Sorsogon province, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva – who will be among those facing malversation raps before the Office of the Ombudsman.

PORK BARREL QUEEN AND SOME

The others include Pork Barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles, La Union Rep. Victor Ortega (first district), former La Union Rep. Manuel Ortega, former Zamboanga Rep. Isidoro Real, Jr., Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing (fifth district), Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (second district), Abono Rep. Conrado Estrella III and former Abono Rep. Robert Raymundo Estrella.

On the other hand, let’s take the case of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), the international governing body of association football (soccer), futsal and beach soccer. After a 47-count indictment of 14 individuals was unsealed by the United States Justice Department, FIFA officials were charged with collecting a staggering $150 million in bribes and kickbacks from sports-marketing firms for media and marketing rights to international football tournaments. The payoffs involved money that exchanged hands over the selection of South Africa to host the 2010 Men’s World Cup (including $10 million paid to three members of the FIFA selection committee) and kickbacks in exchange for votes in FIFA’s 2011 presidential elections. Officials from Concacaf, the FIFA-affiliated governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, also allegedly took bribes in exchange for the rights to World Cup qualifying events, the Gold Cup tournament, and the Concacaf Champions League, a competition among franchises selected from professional leagues in member nations. The indictments cover activities stretching back more than two decades.

If accused Philippine government officials,  FIFA officials and others filed bonds before they ran for public office from barangay, mayor, Senate, House of Representatives, etc. or before they are confirmed to the Cabinet or to FIFA governing board, the Philippine government and the FIFA would not have been holding an empty bag.

DYNASTY WILL BE SHATTERED!

They are like treasurers of organizations who have to apply for bonds before they are appointed to such positions because they eventually succumb to the temptation of gaining pecuniary interests over the funds these treasurers control.

If they are bonded, even if Binay distributes the government moneys to his wife, son and daughters, they could not run away from paying back the money they allegedly pocketed.  The government can easily turn to the bonding agencies to collect whatever money was lost to corruption.

If President Marcos and his wife, Imelda, were bonded, even if they fled to other countries with the loot, the Philippine government can always recover the money, for instance, Lloyds of London, which ensures everything worth insuring for as long as corresponding premiums are paid.

As I told Dr. Rufino Crisostomo, president of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago (FACC), if only the FACC, then headed by Ms. Thelma Bascos, required Filipino community member Angela Arevalo-Eads to apply for a bond before allegedly running off with the $10,000 still unaccounted for that was earmarked for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the FACC would not have been holding an empty bag. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office is still looking into this racket.

I was in the Philippines in 2005, when my kababayan from Sorsogon, New York-based Filipino American lawyer Loida Nicolas-Lewis, chair of the Business for Integrity and Stability of Our Nation Foundation (BISYON 2020), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kyo Naka, United Nations Development Programme Deputy Resident Representative, as they launched the project that aims to raise one billion pesos to support its long-term goal of  “a corruption-free Philippines” by the year 2020.

If BISYON 2020 could adopt a mechanism I am suggesting requiring public or private officials to secure a bond before they are elected into office, it will be a small step towards achieving BISYON’s goal. ((lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

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