Tuesday, 21 June 2011 11:14
Public office is a highly-limiting and to a large measure, morally defining, and legally-bounded domain of service and power. It is almost entirely sustained by the revenues of the taxpaying public plus those coming from external sources in the forms of loans, foreign aids, and donations.
Given the very nature of our civil service in the entire structure of public administration, one gets the impression that our involvement in it requires the highest degree of personal, moral and ethical qualifications. Without any malicious motive, undertone, or aspersion meant to anyone now or those who may acquire legal possessions or occupancies of public offices by virtue of Civil Service valid appointments, designations, or via the electoral process, it is expected that only the best and the most competent, and the morally immaculate should ideally be given the maximum privilege and opportunity to hold public office.
The notion of “public office as a public trust” makes it more alienating and extremely inaccessible to people with average potentials and talents. It becomes more prohibitive to those who have priorities and interests other than public service and welfare.
It is in this morally, legally, and ethically regulated work place that the issue of engaging, in whatever form, size, and nature of private business becomes highly objectionable.
Ironically, however, engaging in private business has seemingly become the principal and overriding interest of many elective and appointive public officials from the highest echelon to the rock bottom of the governmental operations.
Public officials circumvent the laws and do tricky maneuverings to engage in private business while in control of the taxes of the people. They operate restaurants, resorts, catering services, construction firms under the names and management of dummies, friends, brothers, or business buddies. As head of public offices, they foxily manipulate the budget and plan activities such as conventions, dinners for guests, and other social functions and pay all the expenses out of the taxes of the people. So everything from coffee, gourmet meals, to luxurious accommodation in hotels, is all shouldered by the taxpayers.
This public servant mortally hates critics and those who take the courage of exposing this deceitful act of diverting taxpayers’ money for business profits. They resort to hiring criminals to silence those who attempt to stop their corrupt practices while in public office. Ruthlessly shot to death, is usually the common tragic fate of journalists who refuse to give up their dignity for few pieces of silver or for a fat envelope and join the “praise press” or the “three wise monkeys” who see nothing, write nothing, and publish nothing” but the accomplishments that are anyway expected of all public officials and fully paid by the taxpayers. In the most likely event, that anyone of us, gets murdered for being a hindrance to their thievery of public funds, who else could be the brains behind?
This is one bureaucratic plague that should be exterminated because it is sucking huge amount of taxpayers’ money every year. WE hope that our Commission on Audit will be fearless and objective to examine the expenditures of our Chiefs of public offices in this chapter of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere.”
By Clem M. Bascar
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