Aquino: Conviction not filing of cases 'key' vs corruption
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III said the conviction of erring officials is "key" to solving the problem of corruption, even as most major cases filed under his administration have no resolution to date.
“I keep stressing to those agencies directly involved that the key to success is not filing cases but actually getting convictions,” Aquino told Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, when asked about the status of corruption in the Philippines during a one-on-one interview.
Aquino has only 260 days left in office but he remains confident he would see the resolution of the cases. After all, he said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno are there to institutionalize judicial processes.
Aquino added he is "convinced" that all government agencies involved are doing "everything" in their power to achieve conviction.
Some of the corruption cases include the electoral sabotage and plunder charges against former president now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the illegal detention and plunder charges against alleged porkbarrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, and graft and plunder charges against Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile,
Of the 4 public officials, only Enrile is out on bail for "humanitarian" reasons.
Forbes also took the opportunity to ask Aquino about another contentious domestic topic that affect foreign investors – security.
Responding to questions, Aquino dismissed concerns over security in the country as something “sensationalized” by the local media.
“Our media, like any other country’s media … would want to have something that is sensational. We agree we have problems but I don’t think our problems are disproportionate to any other country of our size and our particular status,” Aquino said.
“Our situation is same as everybody else – drug cartels, white new collar of identity theft, that is a work in progress,” he added.
Aquino also downplayed the kidnapping cases in the country, saying these incidents mostly in Mindanao, where the government is “in the process of trying to forge a peace agreement with major secessionist group.”
“It would be wrong to say there is no crime in the Philippines. But I think our crime situation is being addressed and there is a quite substantial reduction on what we call index crimes .... But we're not stopping,” he said.
The latest kidnapping incidents happened in Mindanao. On September 21, 3 foreigners and a Filipina were abducted by a still unidentified group in the province of Davao.
On October 7, an Italian national, a long-time resident of Dipolog City, was also abducted. – Rappler.com