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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, August 30, 2016
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Zero corruption


Last week, 70 officials of Bacolod City attended the seminar on Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in Public Service conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman, Region VI. Each participant made “a pledge of commitment to develop zero tolerance to corruption.”

The number of participants is impressive and if those who wrote their Personal Integrity Plans are sincere we shall find a government to our hearts' desire.

In their Personal Integrity Plans the participants listed down their “behavior that they want to stop, start and continue.” They promised to do this within six months and their performance will be assessed by then. City's Human Resource and Management Office collected these PIP.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia challenged them to “walk the talk” meaning they should do what they promised.

Something is queer in this exercise. The HRMO will have to examine the individual PIP which is in effect, if sincerely done, a confession of wrongdoing, failure, incompetence, laziness, abusive behavior, arrogance, malingering, petty or big graft, dishonesty, deceit and lying, and even playing games in the internet as if they are doing something important. Our readers can add their own experience with city officials, regular employees and casuals.

Did the participants add their personal and family activities that affect their performance or integrity in their jobs?

I know personally one executive assistant of Mayor Leonardia who is dishonest not only with one but several others. Writing will not change his behavior; only repentance and restitution can but only as a start. But will he restitute? Will he write even an attempt to change?

If one is dishonest in private life, can he be expected to be honest in public office? Can he then write into the PIP that he will be honest? Of course he can but is he sincere? Can a leopard change its spot on a piece of paper?

Or will an employee who maintains a kept woman write down he would leave her? Of course not, and the HRMO will be unable to monitor whether he will do so.

Personal lives affect public functions. Can a man with two families or vices support them on government pay? I doubt strongly. His behavior in public office will be affected. Can he refrain from dipping his dirty fingers into the government till? He will play his corruption cards well.

The seminar is timely because less than 50 days after the Leonardia administration came into office, rumors are already coming out about the behavior of people within his own circle.

The talks going the rounds were overheard from friends conversing in a shop. It did not come from the camp of Monico Puentevella but from people within. I believe they do not intend to hurt the mayor but are just sharing the talk which should give the mayor an idea of what is happening within or among his staff.

The people exchanging these talks hope that the mayor will take action before the situation becomes uncontrollable and play into the hands of his enemies, political and otherwise. Last month, I sort of whispered to City Administrator John Orola this information. I guess it did not get to the mayor because nothing was done and is now spreading.

The words are in initials: AM, FM, SM and LM. There are other initials but overheard were the only ones relayed to me but they speak eloquently nevertheless.

The initials indicate power struggle or power play within or among Mayor Leonardia's people. They are not therefore helping him and nobody will be telling him for anxiety or fear they will lose their positions.

AM refers to the Actual Mayor which is Mayor Leonardia while FM means Feeling Mayor; SM is Sobra pa sa Mayor. The initial LM is given to those who operate or behave Like the Mayor.

The descriptions of his staff will give the mayor an idea about how they carry on with their duties. In truth they can easily be spotted when one deals with anyone of them.

The sins of the previous administration emanated from similar initials, the root cause of corruption. Employees will not resort to distasteful behavior without a corruptible intent. Regular employees can attest that the power-playing of the past administration was a tool for corruption and cause of its downfall.

Zero tolerance for corruption is a noble objective; the mayor is forewarned. He must end this power play and excise the cancerous within.*



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