Sunday, June 12, 2011

Corruption of Public Trust, Part II

Money is a value. Trust is a value. One is hard, defined in a coin or slip of paper. The other is soft, defined in the integrity of behavior.

Media and governmental attention to corruption in the Philippines is focused mainly on money. The more prevalent form of corruption, betrayal of public trust, is largely overlooked. Indeed, participation in this form of corruption is so vast, so pronounced, so prevalent, that it defines the moral way to act in the Philippines. The lack of personal integrity in the Philippines is so robust that Filipinos cannot see it in themselves.

It is a fun-house mirror, where thin looks fat and fat looks tall.

It is moral to slander those who take an opposite view, or who have the gall to get something that you don’t have. It is a tear-down morality, where diminishing others is a way of life. If someone should have the audacity to win, making you lose, you have are enemies for life.

It is moral, if you are a governmental manager, to hire a friend or favorite or family member over someone who is more capable of doing the job. It is moral to “take care of your own” that way, rather than take care of the public by assuring competence in every position.

It is moral to pass favors to those who have helped you, or might yet help you. Even if the passing of those favors denies others a fair deal.

It is relatively easy to track the paper trail and find out what happened to money. It is very difficult to track what is in the heart and mind. Especially when it is moral to diminish the person who is investigating.

And when what is in the heart is “personal advantage”, when what is in the mind is greed, then the community is poorly cared for.

And you get the Philippines.

A place that does not recognize public trust as a valued currency. Or, perhaps, is just awakening to the damage Filipinos are doing to Filipinos, and that trust is more valuable than money.

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