LOOK: Forms of corruption in government, daily life

Michael Bueza
As we do our part and increase our vigilance to stop the menace of corruption, it pays to be aware of what these corrupt acts are

MANILA, Philippines – The fight against corruption takes center stage once again.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte himself vowed to go after corrupt officials and individuals: “Those who betrayed the people’s trust shall not go unpunished and they will have their day in Court.”

As we do our part and increase our vigilance to stop the menace of corruption, it pays to be aware of what these corrupt acts are.

Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act lists down unlawful deeds that should be avoided not only by public officials but also by persons and groups transacting with government.

Below are illustrations of some scenarios where corruption is bred and carried out. Help raise awareness by sharing any of these on your social media networks.

‘Kotong’

Pangongotong, mulcting, or bribery takes place when a person who violated a rule gets away with penalty by giving a law enforcement agent or a public officer a bribe or kotong, usually in cash.

The “kotong” is usually sought by the law enforcer upon apprehending the violator, but can also be initiated by the bribe-giver himself or herself. Both parties will be held liable under RA 3019.

Kickbacks

Another punishable form of corruption is getting a “kickback” or an illicit payment for facilitating the approval of government deals.

Usually, the kickbacks are incorporated in the “overpriced” government contract itself.

The pork barrel scam that unraveled in 2013 contained many testimonies of kickbacks for congressmen and their “agents.” (READ: Pork Tales: A story of corruption | How It Works)

‘Padrino’ system

Republic Act 3019 specifies many forms of corruption that fall under the “padrino” or patronage system.

Here is one scenario: Relatives, friends, and allies of public officials having their requests approved faster than perceived political opponents and ordinary citizens.

This is unlawful under RA 3019.

With the help of friends and acquaintances working in government, some are also able to get licenses and permits, even if they failed to pass a requirement or skipped an exam.

There have also been many cases where relatives and friends of public officials get undue advantage in securing contracts for government projects, sometimes through sham public bidding. 

Despite the presence of more qualified groups and proposals, or the obvious conflicts of interests, corrupt officials award contracts to their allies anyway.

And we bet you’ve seen this before: a person or a group cutting long lines and going ahead of others, because they know someone inside the office or agency. 

A simple act like this breeds a culture of corruption that could eventually find its way into transactions involving money and government funds.

Tokens of appreciation: Good or bad? 

When a public officer helps us in getting through procedures in a lawful and honest way, we sometimes can’t help but express our gratitude by offering a small amount of money or a simple gift.

But is it OK to give such a token of appreciation, or a simple “Thank you!” is enough? We posed this question on Facebook.

Some argued that it is fine as long as it’s given freely. An online user commented, “The customer shouldn’t have to pay extra for a great service, but when we know that you have raised the bar and exceeded our expectations… then it is up to us to show appreciation.” However, she drew the line on employees blatantly asking for a tip.

On the other hand, many netizens said that it is already the government employee’s job to provide fast and efficient services to the public. One online user even noted that even a small token is still considered bribery.

“They are doing the job they chose and [they are] getting paid, so why do we pay them again?” asked another user. Rappler.com

How do you think can we stop corruption in government? Write on X or share your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #CorruptionPH. 

Have you seen an act of corruption first-hand? Have you ever been asked to pay a bribe? Let us know by leaving a comment below, by sending us a direct message or e-mailing to research@rappler.com using subject line: #CorruptionPH. 

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.