Why Politicians Become Corrupt (Anatomy of Corruption in the Philippines)

I found this article posted in Aklan Forum and found it very timely. Reposting this article with just 3 days left before the National Elections. Hope we all vote wisely.

The irrepressible Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago came out with the reason for the mad rush for Senate seats, making them throw away millions, or rather hundreds of millions of pesos, just to be elected. People have always wondered: How in the world can anybody spend hundreds of millions of pesos for a position that yields only a monthly salary of P35,000. Indeed, there must be something about a Senate seat. Is it really just public service, or is there something more?

Consider this: The spending limit for a senatorial candidate is P225 million, or P5 per registered voter. And there are more than 45 million registered voters.

Read this: Apart from the monthly P35,000 salary for a senator, there is a fixed monthly budget of P1.7 million for office and staff expenses, and an additional P760,000 in foreign travel and additional perks.

Listen to this: Some senators hardly travel abroad. When they do, they do not only use the travel budget. They ask for more, even pocket money. And they bring their spouses and children, secretaries and girlfriends, doctors or even yayas.

And how’s this? Each senator gets P793,000 a month for staff salaries and another P998,000 for office expenses such as rentals, utilities, supplies and domestic travel.

If a senator is a committee chairman, he or she gets a similar budget of what she gets as a regular senator. And there is no rule requiring senators to return the money that has not been used. This means they have the option of pocketing the excess cash.

Do we wonder then why people are just so eager to be senators? It beats winning a casino jackpot or winning a lottery-it’s all tax-free.

Now read this and weep: Above all the things I just mentioned, a senator is given P200 million out of the P1.71 billion Senate budget under the General Appropriations Act.
Santiago speaks of 10 percent kickback from public works contractor to be given awards for infrastructure and from other awarded contracts for livelihood projects, social services, like health and education. Miriam is being conservative. The usual kickback given goes as high as 30 to 40 percent for contracts pinpointed by members of Congress.

Do you understand now why everybody wants to be a lawmaker? And why candidates will do everything, including spending money as though it were going out of style, just to get elected? Dole-outs to favored people are also unaudited. They are running for public service because their hearts bleed for the poor and needy? Aw, come on, don’t give me that BS. They run because there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, all at the expense of the Filipino people.


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