Focus on the Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte after barely two months in office (sworn in 6/30/16) has convinced the Filipino people and foreigners this is the first time the country’s President has rolled up his sleeves and began fulfilling his campaign promises on Day-1, firstly, to rid the country of drug traffickers, pushers, and users to show that his government can fight corruption and crimes to bring the Philippines to the level the late Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew had guided Singapore to climb the ranks of industrialized nations, or Do30 as he’s fondly called by constituents will be no better than any predecessor.

Unfortunately, the rash of killings that attended Do30’s hurried fulfillment of his promise to get rid of illegal drugs along with traffickers, pushers and users has alarmed almost everyone from the boardrooms of corporate crimes to mom-and-pop (sari-sari) store have joined the bandwagon, who reportedly have profited from the lucrative drug trade.

The drug trade has become a fiesta where law enforcers and pillars of justice are singing in a chorus with traffickers and users “Happy days are here again” as though the unabated corruption that Marcos and his wife, Imelda, tolerated is back and nobody cares because arrests weren’t expected anyway until some dead bodies are found reportedly were being arrested but tried to grab an arresting policeman’s service firearm and was shot.

Whether or not the stories of over 400 drug-related killings are true, some retired Filipino Americans advising Pamusa have come up with a program Do30 could adopt to fight corruption and other crimes strictly in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human rights which will include drug trafficking and those who profit from it and big businessmen perpetrating even worse boardroom corruption such as “contractualization” with business cartel and investment monopoly to bar much needed foreign investment without  which more agonies, deprivation, and repression will continue to befall poor Filipino families.

Contractualization should be abolished from the Filipino lexicon if poor Filipino families will ever forget what a few Chinese Filipinos and their ilk have embedded in the minds of our people worse than that inflicted by savage conquerors in ancient times. For instance, how could a young woman who’s hired as a sales clerk in a department store feel when after telling her family her work will end in 5 months and she won’t a chance to be re-employed no matter how good she’s performed?

Gripped with worries after she’s enrolled in a 4-year college course with no chance to go overseas, she sees her boss and asks what could she do to continue? Her Chinese boss known for sexual harassment hints something she says never will she do.  The boss tells her firmly her employment ends in 5 months.

Suddenly, as though the world comes crumbling down on her, she asks herself where will the money come from to pay her tuition and what will happen to her family that eagerly awaits her payday and improve their menu? Her father is jobless and occasionally earning as a jeepney barker while her mother is doing part-time maid and laundry, so how could she finish college and help her 4 younger siblings grow up normally? Still she couldn’t believe her job ends in less than 5 months, so she contacts a friend she’s heard doing well in a position of GRO she’s never heard before.

As the saying goes, the rest is the history for thousands, maybe millions now that young women become a naprt of.

Although employers such as her boss deserve more to be shot than drug traffickers and pushers there’s a better way for Do30 to help the poor, our abovementioned fellow FilAms said. These fellows who, of course, show regret that after obtaining high education at home and in USA opted to serve the United States almost in their entire adult life as consultants to the IMF-World Bank, UNDP, USAID, etc. to help develop poor nations, grow their economies, hasten job creation for which official development assistance and international charity are spread thinly into mini-industries such as virtually handing out of prenatal and childcare with eventual development and skills training to foster growth and management of livelihood, healthcare, and educational projects, etc. that large resource-based and smaller-scale foundations engage in today.

Consequently, the inefficiencies and corruption at both ends of the source aid aid-giving led to an estimated loss of $20 trillion (with a “T”) of foreign aid funds and private charities the rich nations have poured into poor countries since the end of WW II without any significant dent on poverty.

Now, with rich nations’ government gripped with deficit spending and increasing demand for entitlement of the poor causing violent street demonstrations, there’s evidence that corruption in now like “toothpaste out of the tube” and has begun to seep into U.S. cities causing similar violent demonstrations and unnecessary loss of life and property. The Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD incidents are warning signs American cities and urban areas are no longer beyond the reach of hopelessness and violence of minority population and their sprouting movements such as “Occupy Wall Street,” “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” “Black Lives Matter.”

Our fellow FilAms mostly living in CA with some helping as Pamusa’s advisors have found out which they’ve been trying to convince U.S. large-resource based and small foundations that corruption like diseases such as bubonic plague, smallpox, cholera, polio, etc. which ravaged mankind in the past can also be eradicated by strict adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights.

There are now effective prosecutorial discretion and cost-effective legal weapons added now and then to the international cooperation agreements against corruption (ICAACs) such as the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), OECD mandates, G7 & G20 agreements, etc. which are mutually enforced by the U.S. and Philippine Departments of Justice by virtue of the PHL-USA Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which took effect since 1994. That’s, of course, if we put our act and resources together.

For example, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch shocked the world’s legal community by ordering the arrest of the 14 top FIFA officials (all non-Americans) by a USDOJ-IRS-FBI team with Swiss police cooperation at dawn of their annual conference in May 2015 at Zurich, Switzerland, for rampant corruption, money laundering, conspiracy, racketeering, etc. in the marketing of TV rights and other paraphernalia for the preparatory, regional, and semi-final games in the run-up to the World Cup championship.

Lynch struck again on 7/20/16 to seize more than $1 billion in assets, including four posh LA homes, a Beverly Hills hotel, and a stake in the 2013 movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” which were purchased with money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, better known as 1MDB.

President Duterte can do the same to Filipino private businessmen and individuals that since Marcos time have been enablers of corruption and related financial crimes.

Combining Foreign Aid and Private Charities

DO30 should know that the Philippines can solicit on its own the financing capability of corporate sponsors, thus conduct educational and informational campaigns to improve the understanding of grade school children to high school and college students and the general population that “contractualization” isn’t the job creator the businessmen have embedded in their minds. If the damage done on the national economy and the collective harm suffered by the people were quantified, contractualization victims could collect billions of pesos through class action suits against employers who started and perpetrated this employment scheme because many victims actually went through and experienced the agonizing mental, moral, and exemplary damages by heartless employers.

Many witnesses are still around to testify they’ve been the exploited victims of contractualization laid off after only 5 months of employment yet they did nothing wrong to merit dismissal so soon. Government labor watchdogs have each been like Rip van Winkle sleeping through numerous unfair labor practices and violations of the Philippine Labor Code, International Labor Organisation(ILO), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Depending on the availability of funds solicited by Pamusa’s tax-exempt status under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Sec. 501(c)(3), which is unlimited and the good hearts of American and international charity givers, the Duterte administration and Pamusa can launch campaigns in the U.S. and other foreign countries abroad to effectively address the Siamese-twin evils of corruption and poverty and their causes.

I’m coming most probably in January when the cooperative framework of the MOU between the Philippine DOJ and Pamusa is set up, or Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre can send me a draft of the MOU based on the PHL-USA Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. After the MOU is approved and assured of the USDOJ’s help, Secretary Aguirre can come to the U.S. to sign it with me.

There should be undeniable recognition that corruption causes poverty and not the other way around. Hence, depending on President Durterte’s willing cooperation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be entered into between the Philippine Department of Justice (PHDOJ) and the Philippine Anticorruption Movement USA, Inc. (Pamusa) whereby an Equal Justice for the Poor Fund(the “Fund” for short) will be established with the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The Fund will primarily get involved in corruption eradication, prosecution of workers’ rights violation, supplementary financing for the Philippine justice system’s especially of enhancing the cost-effectiveness of criminal justice.

The Fund’s Supplementary Financing Capacity shall particularly be of great concern by allotting at least 50% of the contributions, grants, bequests, etc. received and turned over by participating Philippine, U.S., and other charitable foundations, private voluntary organizations (PVOs), religious and educational institutions, governments, etc., which shall be pooled to constitute the Fund to be utilized as follows:

(1) Supplementary financing to “bridge” budgetary gaps that occur in criminal corruption cases against (defendant(s), such as paying for the services of a private law firm not included in law enforcement budget to provide a defense counsel for poor defendant(s) or to be private prosecutor when a collaborator is needed by the government lawyer;

(2) Asset-search detective to locate ill-gotten wealth hidden in safe havens;

(3) Forensic accountant to audit and probe that illegally acquired assets might’ve come from the proceeds of corruption;

(4) Property value appraiser to determine true value of illicitly-acquired assets if the owner-defendant(s) could afford them with legitimate income;

(5) Other private services for which no government budget is allotted in prosecuting defendant(s) of corruption and financial crimes who may guilty but may walk because of insufficiency of budgetary funds.

(6) And such other needs the poor can’t afford when fighting for human and civil rights such as small amounts of bail bonds of non-serious offenders who will be accepted on the recognizance of barangay leaders in order to decongest DETENTION centers that oftentimes can be the cause of big troubles.