Corrupt Politicians and Justice for Sale

          By Vic Odarve

With strong connections from the justice departments, billions of dollars at their disposal, and being members of a solid and influential political dynasty, politicians may be safe from the bribery and corruption charges. Normally corrupt people who have a strong connection with the judicial officers will be saved from the lawsuit. Political leaders, who became billionaires from illegal government transactions, are expected to pass aside from the court investigation. Strong political influences do extend its arm in hiding unlawful acts perpetrated by a member of any political dynasties. This is the modern landscape in our democratic world; government and wealth… with the skillful maneuvering may save politicians from imprisonment. It is justice for sale!

binay-establishes-family-political-dynasty-now-in-hot-seat

Binay-establishes-family-political-dynasty-now-in-hot-seat

Yes, strong connection to any one of the judges could do marvels. Usually connection dates back from the feudal time where grandparents are close with each other, friends, schoolmates, and events that were shared together. Some judges do some favors as personal gratitude as a long- time friends and allies, and for aiding and defending them in their time of difficulties. It is the payback period. That is why some politicians, despite proof of voluminous files on graft and corruptions for cheating billions of dollars, the case drags slowly until it fades off to limbo. Case stands still like time and space in black hole due to strong gravitational pull.  It is a frustrating scenario to the electorates and voting public in general. Strong connections work!

Bong Revilla is implicated in a pork barrel scam

Bong Revilla is implicated in a pork barrel scam

The color of money still makes the difference. Politicians who are billionaires can afford good lawyers who will defend everything at all cost just to twist the case on the client’s favor. On that point are reported instances that some members of the magistrates allegedly facilitated the sale of court decisions, influencing other justices to find in favor of the clients for a monetary value.  Take the example of the mayor of Makati City, Philippines. When an anti-graft court issued 60-day suspension to a city mayor, Court of Appeals came to the rescue. The Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order and then a writ of injunction on the Ombudsman order. The Senate investigating committee accused two Courts of Appeals justices of receiving money from a Makati mayor in exchange for an order restraining the Ombudsman from suspending the mayor under investigation. Worse, people clamor that CA justice is for sale. This restraining order saved the mayor from suspension. The color of money makes the difference. Justice is for sale!

Marcos regime is one of the most corrupt in the history of  governance.

Marcos regime is one of the most corrupt in the history of governance.

Political dynasty has always influenced the court cases. Politics does influence the judges’ decisions considering their stakes in some of the client’s social and business circles. Some justices are appointed by the political kingpin of the particular area of legal power; others are associated with their jobs. With dynasty, democratic exercise can be easily manipulated for selfish ends; enabling them to stay in power. In this way, they have monopolistic control over the economic resources within given territorial jurisdictions or bailiwicks. In areas where landlords and political clans dominate, justice usually runs to the favor to the mighty and powerful. Political dynasties rule!

Indonesia Suharto regime was widely seen as corrupt in 1998.

Indonesia Suharto regime was widely seen as corrupt in 1998.

But not all politicians and justices are built the same. There are few who are not after for money nor being afraid of the famous and powerful men in society. They fought and adhere to the law. That is why some politicians who earn billions of money from the public funds are put behind bars. Such was the example of former Nicaraguan president Alemán who, in 2003 was charged with corruption and embezzlement, found guilty, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.  Marcos and Suharto regimes are also remembered for the rampant corruptions at the highest levels of the government. Both of them lost support from fellow politicians and justices at the brink of their governance.

Too much politicking, corruption, and political dynasties are widely blamed for weak democracy. These are the underlying reasons why cheaters in our government offices escape from punishment. Fighting corruption and cleansing judicial judges are necessary. It is a painful process, but must be done. Crooked politicians and justices with corrupt inclinations must be out of our generation. Justice is not for sale!

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Blatant Display of Abuse of Power

                                                          By Vic Odarve

Sometimes we have to pay an attention to tiresome people that hit world headlines. Authoritarian rule continues sacking political rivals who are threat to his government; political warlords and members of their dynasty break the rules of legal regulations and ordinances; and wealthy business moguls and their family members seem to be worshipped like God. These pictures and many incidents are examples of blatant oppression of the poor by the powerful.

President Putin of Russia

President Putin of Russia

Recently, Russian President Putin has acted an iron hand to its political opponent Alexei Navalny. In the final judgment, Alexie was sentenced to five-year prisons on fabricated charges with stealing a small amount of money on the sale of timber. This man is really a thorn to Putin; responsible in exposing high level of corruption in the country; organizers of anti-Putin demonstrations following the disputed parliamentary and presidential elections; and charismatic

Uncle of Kim Jong North Korea

Uncle of Kim Jong North Korea on trial

blogger and activist-thus plenty of followers. As such he could not run for public office; thus Putin has successfully removed Navalny from formal politics.

While in North Korea, Dictator Kim Jong II brutally killed his powerful uncle, who had been considered as second in command, for allegedly attempting to overthrow the state; his uncle was

Uncle Executed-Eaten by Dogs

Uncle Executed-Eaten by Dogs

stripped naked, thrown into a cage, and eaten alive by a pack of ravenous dogs. These are blatant displays of abuse of power.

Not only the authoritarian rulers demonstrate their abusive powers, Philippine political warlords and dynasty, sometimes close their eyes to the established laws and regulations. Last Nov. 30, 2013, as the main gate was already closed after 10 PM, Makati Mayor

Vice President Binay

Vice President Binay

Junjun Binay, together with his sister, Senator Nancy, was advised to use the other exit gate at the posh Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.

“Don’t you know me?” Mayor Junjun Binay said. The mayor berated the gate guards, and his escort brandishing firearms as they got down from their vehicles. The three security guards were reportedly arrested and detained by officers of the Makati Police on orders of the Mayor. And finally, after the incident, the father who is the Vice President, merely said”, A little courtesy for the mayor, please.” It is a blatant oppression of the poor by the powerful.

Sometimes even the family members of influential business tycoon think they are worthy of worship… live higher than Pharaohs and kings. A month ago, a Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah berated a flight attendant in front of other passengers, made him kneel before her and ordered the pilot to take the plane back to the gate to let him off. The plane was about to take off at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. A dismay to a traveling public! After the incident, her father who is the owner and chair of the airline company, apologized in public and called her daughter “foolish.” A display of abuse of power!

Since biblical times, the mighty and powerful live in a fabulous and lavish lifestyle, and have the power over life and death of an individual. Some of these men don’t even deserve pity; they stain themselves with the blood of the innocents; they live like a king and princes, but like everyone else, they will perish and return to the dusts.

Dummies and Bribes; Corruption

                by Vic Odarve

Every day, we read and see in newspapers, televisions, and tabloids highlighting corruption. Main culprits; dummies and bribes! These are, indeed, instruments to hide hidden wealth and elude authorities for investigation especially taxation. Dummies and bribes are really gates to corruption. Dummies are persons or organizations serving as a front for another while pretending to be independent. On the other hand, bribes are to give somebody money or some other incentive to do something, especially something illegal or dishonest. With a masterful stroke from the government investigators for hidden wealth from among our politicians and public officials, these dummies and bribes are actually the gates of corruptions.

Vice President Binay

Vice President Binay

Dummies, like wormholes, are done in stealth manner that detection to get a clue requires expertise. Politicians and other wealthy personalities, while amassing wealth due to the position in government offices, used “dummies” to corner government contracts and conceal the assets acquired while still in government office. Such was the case of VP Jejomar Binay who allegedly earned something on the graft-ridden P2. 3-billion Makati parking building. Investigation pointed out that a company that won contracts is a front. He is also believed to be the owner of 350 hectares Batangas property fronted by a businessman Tiu. VP Binay who was a poor human rights lawyer during the dark days of martial law is now very rich, as reflected in his own declaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. With no family business, incomes come mainly derived from the salary as public servants. This makes it difficult to explain how he amassed his wealth.

Russian President Putin

Russian President Putin. Russia is one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

Like dummies, bribes which often develop from personal connections also lead to corruption. Such connections are important in getting things done within the public sector, and a majority of bribes going toward speeding up a service. It is a form of corruption! Receiving a big discount on their own purchases and receiving gifts or millions of dollars in the form of donations are also indirect bribery. Accepting such lucrative offers while in position meant to create an obligation on behalf of the public official to provide some benefit in return at some point in time. Diversion of the public fund to ghost projects also results to kickbacks or bribes. That was what happened to Ji Jianye, the mayor of Nanjing, a major city in eastern China, was arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes worth about 20 million yuan ($3.3 million). Mohamed Suharto, too, President of Indonesia from 1967-98, allegedly embezzled $ 15 billion to $35 billion according to Transparency International report 2004. One would recognize bribery easily, but many a time bribery makes its debut under the cloak of gifts.

Anti-corruption nonprofit Transparency International has released its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, showed that for countries with more than 100 million populations, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia were considered as the world’s most corrupt nations. Residents reported corruptions in the public sector are very serious problems. Transparency groups blamed politicians for encouraging corruptions; corrupt political parties; and companies underreporting the value of the resources they extract and the tax incurred amounting to billions of dollars.

Corrupt practices may affect the reputation and further erode the people’s trust in the government officials. Parents must have an active role in raising children to instill honesty; schools must share the value of moral ascendancy; government officials must engage in soul searching and examine their conscience and purify their culture.

It has been said that in these corrupt countries, every single law enacted by lawmakers presents an opportunity for someone to make money, directly or indirectly. Much more, corrupt people are proven smarter than government regulations, but dummies and bribes are always the components of corruption.

Are Gifts Blessing Or Bribe?

By Vic Odarve

Like light which behaves both as particle and wave, gifts are also dual in nature. Gifts could mean a blessing or a bribe to a giver or receiver. Both scenarios are possible. It depends on how we perceive them! It depends on its environs where it acts.

Adventure at Niger Delta, Nigeria, Africa

Adventure at Niger Delta, Nigeria, Africa

A mom told her son,”Son, you must have to visit your teacher/lecturer on his birthday. Bring this gift and greet him happy birthday”. The package consisted of imported wine and perfume. “What’s wrong? We did not ask and it is heartily given?” the lecturer reasoned out.

Some politicians, too, with monies screw from public funds, play like a god or paternalistic landlord. They distribute cash in millions as gifts to their voters. Those closer to their hearts receive larger windfalls! In return, people regard them as if they are lords as if they are gods in their districts as if they are God’s gifts to humanity. “What’s wrong? We did not ask and it is heartily given?” the people reasoned out.

A year ago, a wife of one lecturer got angry when he refused to give gifts to his boss and predicted: “You’ll never be promoted on your job as a lecturer and receive no salary increase if you don’t know how to give gifts!” Sure enough, the lecturer never got any promotion during his decade-long of teaching at the university. He was not among the chosen ones to be promoted and received a salary increase. In the group, he possessed the highest teaching qualifications. Gifts establish a connection to your bosses for a favored action.

Chocolate hills visit

Chocolate hills visit

A gift is a gift and nothing more. But a politician who gives a gift to the voters or a student who gives a gift to his lecturers/teachers is another thing. A gift is no longer a gift! It is a bribe for a vote in the coming election for a politician and also a bribe to facilitate a passing grade for a student by the lecturer/teacher. For a boss would mean a promotion and salary increase to his/her subordinates.

GIFT BECOMES A BRIBE

A gift is defined as something that is bestowed, usually to give pleasure or show gratitude while bribery is the illegal influencing of any person in the exercise of a public duty through the payment of money or anything of value.

Bohol, Philippines adventure

Bohol, Philippines adventure

To distinguish whether a gift is a bribe or not is a very difficult. In math, these two variables are functions of the motives of the giver and receiver and value of the gifts. A gift is given without any expectation of gain while in bribery a favor is expected. More often ‘a gift can be disclosed, a bribe needs to be concealed.

This is the usual perception. The definition becomes clearer if we know closely on the motives and subsequent actions of both parties that follow the gift giving. The value of the offer can be determined, but the motives can be deceptive and difficult to discern.  Most often bribery makes its debut under the cloak of gifts. Sometimes it depends on country’s culture where there be a hairline differences between gifts from bribes. Not all gift-giving is bribery.

Some cultural customs of the country consider commissions, honorariums, give away, incentives, and consultation fees as gifts while others as bribes. These also spell the difference.

BRIBES AND CORRUPTIONS

Bribes are close relatives to corruptions. Corrupt people permeate the world. Look at some famous people in the world today. Proven guilty, they are facing plunder charges in connection with bribes, corruption, scandals, scam, etc. Some of them are presidents, senators, congressman, and politician. The common denominator- they are allegedly receiving bribes, kickbacks, incentives, etc. in the form of gifts. Whatever the things they receive they call them gifts or blessings!

Corruption, which is the most hated social problems and difficult to eradicate, sometimes emanating from one’s own cultural background. It can starve investment of public-improvement projects and instead; fattened the pockets of the corrupt officials.

Though the practice is culturally rooted, a genuine political will allow checks and balances, transparency, and independent scrutiny. In some instances, these actions may act as sort of remedy in curbing corruption.

Lecturers, populace, bosses or superiors always claim in the chorus that what they receive are gifts, not bribes. Whatever the perceptions, a gift like a light in the science of Physics, has dual nature; that is, it can be a blessing or a bribe. The judgment in receiving gifts as ethical, proper, appropriate or blessing is yours and it is irrevocable. The book of Revelation reveals everything, as follows; Rev 22:11-12;

11 Let the sinner continue to sin and the defiled remain in his defilement; let the righteous continue to do what is right and he who is holy grow holier.”

12 “I am coming soon, bringing with me the salary I will pay to each one according to his deeds.

 So be it! And glory to God in the Highest.

Place for Marking Scripts

By Vic Odarve

            This is a uniquely African way- lecturers or teachers have to mark or check exam scripts in a designated place!

Designated place where to mark exam scripts

Designated place where to mark exam scripts

This practice is opposite to most Asian and Western countries universities and colleges. Lecturers can bring the exam papers or scripts to their homes or any places to do marking or checking. But here in Africa, most universities and colleges has a designated place where to check/mark the exam papers. Nobody is allowed to bring exam papers outside. The reason is clear…to avoid outside interferences especially students.

    History has something to do with it. Corruption and bribery brought havoc in almost all countries in this part of the continent in the past few years. Lecturers or teachers from universities and colleges were not spared from bribery. Students bribed their teachers to raise the scores or to pass the failing grades. It became the reality of day to day teaching profession. Bribery, maybe at its peak and it’s difficult to eradicate! Government offices were rife with corruption. Even educational institution! Bribery was so strong and widespread that Christian schools could not live with it. That was before!

             As part of preventive measures and uphold Christian values and integrity of the schools, marking of scripts is now done at the designated place.

 Just like the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah! The cried of its wickedness was so strong such that it reached the Lord in heaven. What did God do? God came down from heaven with two angels to personally visit the two biblical cities and did something about it! Read Genesis 18: 20-21.

 20 Then Yahweh said, “How great is the cry for justice against Sodom and Gomorrah! And how grievous is their sin!

21 I am going down to see if they have done all that they are charged with in the outcry that has reached me. If it is not so, I will know.”

 So this school is on the right track! Measure to discourage bribery! This is the reason why student population increases every year. It is flowing like a river! It succeeds in educating our younger generation. It upholds Christian values and keeps students morally upright. This is it! Marking exam papers must be in one place! A uniquely African way!

A Little Patience Please!

By Vic Odarve

Madonna University,Elele campus, Riverstate, Nigeria, Africa

Madonna University,
Elele campus, Rivers state, Nigeria, Africa

Incessant request for good services is annoying and irritating. And sometimes you did not know that you have paid for it. It takes your precious time for follow-ups and disrupts your daily activities. How much more if it takes almost a month to iron out the things instead of having it completed in a 4 days transaction!  But here in Africa, it is not surprising. It is a common scenario. A little patience is required to work your things out. Patience, please!

It might be a complex for a foreigner to understand the picture unless you do a close look or until you are drawn in one of your business transactions.

Take a case on one of my bank transactions! Just a simple money transfer! It was December 8 that I made a bank transaction. The money was meant for December 25- a Christmas day. And it should suppose to arrive at that date. But after 7 days the recipient did receive nothing. I made a call to the bank manager and he then fixed the problem. So I waited another more working days and to my surprise, the same thing happened. Delayed for the second time! So I called back the manager again several times and begged to give an attention to what had happened. Finally after several calls and follow-ups, the recipient did receive the money. It was already January 2 after New Year! It took almost a month! Instead of 4 days!

There might be something wrong in the bank management. It is difficult to imagine how a simple transaction that could be done in a four working day period ended up in almost a month-long with constant monitoring. In both transaction failures, the bank did not merely notify thru phone or email to its customer.  It seems that this thing is normal in their daily transaction. In their working atmosphere, there’s no such thing as urgent! How about the customers? Customers may keep on calling at the office for follow ups and struggle in pain over their services.

Here it requires a lot of patience than demanding your rights as a customer. It is quite complex for a foreigner to understand the management system the bank is having. Can we do something more? Nothing other than to adopt in order to live and survive in this world where patience reigns supreme than fighting over your rights as a customer.