Whom to believe between World Bank people and Palace officials and sipsips when the topic is the integrity of the project implementation process in the country is a no-brainer. It’s not that the World Bank is a bastion of integrity (usurers are not saints, right?); it’s just that the dollars used for the projects are its own.
Besides, the bidding shenanigans World Bank officials exposed are not new; these are subjects of a cliché called “open secret.” Bribes and commissions (a.k.a. SOPs) are the foundation of the corrupt setup that is one of the reasons why this country is in the pits. Congressmen defending accused contractors is thus laughable.
But lest we fall into the politicians’ trap, especially with the 2010 polls already visible, here’s a warning: corruption in this country is two-sided. I mean, most politicians making a noise about corruption in World Bank-funded projects are themselves beneficiaries of SOPs in other government projects and purchases.
This pot calling the kettle black reminder is important because this is the reason why we have been replacing one corrupt administration with another corrupt one. We thought Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was better than Joseph Estrada because we glossed over Arroyo’s weaknesses. That cycle could continue in the 2010 elections.
(I wrote this for my February 5, 2009 “Candid Thoughts” column in Sun.Star Cebu)