Understanding corruption

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There might very well be a conspiracy afoot to prevent the election of Vice-President Jejomar Binay to the Presidency in 2016. It doesn’t release Binay from the responsibility of credibly answering the accusations that have been hurled against him. But neither should it prevent the media from using the opportunity to provide the public the information and analysis it needs to encourage citizen action against corruption.

The 2016 elections may be all of nineteen months away, but no one will seriously challenge the probability that what’s happening to Binay is a pre-emptive strike intended to steadily erode voter preference for him. Nevertheless, declarations that “it’s just politics” and “selective justice” won’t do, given the seriousness of the charges, and the opportunity they offer for the media to enhance public understanding not only of corruption but also of the exclusionary character of the political system that makes corruption inevitable.

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Zombie ideas

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CORRUPTION IN media is well known, acknowledged, and being addressed in the press and media community itself. It is wrong to make it seem that it’s of recent discovery, or that nothing’s being done about it.

The many forms of corruption in the media—whether bribery, extortion, being in the payroll of political and other interests, all of which are more generally known as “envelopmental journalism”—have been studied not only in those journalism schools that recognize its impact on keeping the public misinformed and even ignorant of the issues that affect it. Putting an end to it has also been among the advocacies of such journalists’ groups as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

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Truth interred

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The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.

SHAKESPEARE wasn’t referring to the consequences of either good or evil, but to evil’s being remembered more than the good. That might have been true in his time, which was 400 years ago. Today the opposite’s more the case, and that’s true of even the most evil men (and women), who, once safely in the ground, are often remembered for their good deeds and/or qualities more than for the bad.

While the most that’s been said about Adolf Hitler is that he restored German pride (at least for some 12 years) and loved dogs, the one man demonstrators used to compare to the Fuhrer has been a bit more fortunate. Among other accolades, the late Ferdinand Marcos, insist some Filipinos, also built roads and diversified the country’s energy resources.

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Enemies of the state

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AT SOME point during her interminable occupancy of Malacanang, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said something to the effect that the police and military are charged with preserving “our way of life.”

I hesitate to call it an unguarded moment, Mrs. Arroyo not being known for lowering her guard at any time, except when she’s playing golf with the state capitalists of China. Let’s call it an unintended confession of what the country’s ruling dynasties and their instrumentalities are up to.

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