Thursday, 21 July 2011 11:33
If there’s any group of Filipino citizens that has always been robbed blind, no doubt it’s the taxpayers. Their consolidated fiscal wealth collected by the government is immediately converted into public funds that are at the disposal of elected key political officials. Without the taxpayers’ involvement in the planning, approval, and implementation of the national and local budgets, the politicians assume direct collegial control and discretionary power in the manner by which these fiscal resources are to be apportioned or allocated to various line agencies, bureaucracies, and entities. The real owners of this aggregate national budget and those prepared and approved by local government units, are absolutely persona non grata in the entire matrix of fiscal management and administration. The taxpayers are considered merely as the food baskets, egg layers, and beasts of burdens of politicians. They are not even allowed to ask how and for what purpose their taxes are expended, most especially the Intelligence funds which are being drawn and liquidated through pieces of paper containing handwritten notes specifying amounts generally intended to buy information for the purpose of insuring security, maintaining peace and order, crime prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution. Yet, despite billions of taxpayers’ fiscal resources squandered in the name of national security and public safety, ordinary criminals, terrorists, kidnap for ransom bands, insurgents, and other outlaws remain unabated and uncontained. Very dispiriting is the fact that until now not a single Liquidation Envelope of the Intelligence Funds has been opened for public scrutiny since Congress whose existence is also totally sustained by taxpayers had passed a law exempting these funds from regular COA audit. How clever our lawmakers are! No wonder they scratch one another’s back so that their pork barrel funds will not be scrapped. Wait until the taxpayers will rise in solidly organized revolt! You are still very fortunate that the taxpayers have remained in deep slumber up to this time. Just be careful not to rock the boat too much for it might jolt them up to consciousness and the reign of greed would be prematurely terminated.
But when the taxpayers are late or unable to pay their taxes, charges are filed against them with amazing diligence, seriousness, judiciousness, speed and expeditiousness. When found guilty of non-payment and tax evasion, the corresponding fines and punitive sentences are immediately meted out. Poor taxpayers, they are defenseless against their own employees. The very people they affectionately suckle to survive are the ones putting them behind bars or exacting more blood from their veins. This is the paradox of being a citizen in a tax-sustained and totally dependent government.
Adding to the disillusionment of the taxpayers is the Commission on Audit who has miserably failed to safeguard the collective wealth of the taxpayers. Instead of taking the cudgels of protecting and safeguarding public funds, many of them have been involved in scandalous and illegal transactions either as bribe takers, graft facilitators, corruption accomplices, commission demanders or in conspiracy with other highwaymen in swivel chairs and air-conditioned public offices. As I stated earlier they do auditing and accounting of public funds not for the taxpayers but for the executives of public offices and agencies of government which makes the whole process wide open to fixing, doctoring, falsifying, and glossing over as desired by the heads of agencies. COA must understand that the heads of offices are just public servants paid by the taxpayers and therefore, logic demands that audit reports must be reported to the taxpayers who are the real employers of all government workers including the COA auditors.
It’s so quick and easy to punish erring taxpayers in the Philippines, but it’s extremely difficult to convict a tax thief or robber. Is this not justice in reverse? While the taxpayers struggle very hard to pay for the salaries of government officials, many of the latter go on a daily rampage to plunder and torture their very source of life, comfort, and pleasure. Corrupt officials please don’t push the taxpayers to revolt! It will surely be the second demise of Rome!
By Clem M. Bascar
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