Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 26th) – The country is exposed to a “moderate risk” in the fight against corruption in defense institutions, reported the London-based Transparency International (TI).
Laut TIs National Defense Integrity Index 2020, the country scored an average of 55 out of 100 in five risk categories: Politics, Finance, Human Resources, Operations and Procurement.
The index evaluates the existence, effectiveness and enforcement of institutional and informal controls for dealing with corruption in defense and security institutions. This covers more than 80 countries around the world, with data collected from December 2019 to February 2021.
“The institutional resilience to corruption in the defense institutions of the Philippines is low. Parliament’s oversight of policy making and procurement is particularly weak and transparency across the sector remains limited, including financial management, ”TI reported.
“Even so, the risk of corruption mitigation in military operations is relatively robust,” she added.
In particular, the country was rated “critical” with regard to internal auditing, links to organized crime, whistleblowing, high risk positions, military doctrine, corruption surveillance in operations and equalization competition. It scored 0 to 16 over 100.
The risk is “very high” in surveillance by secret services, lobbying, legislative access to information, objective appointments, compensation agreements and financing packages. The country’s score was 17 to 32 over 100.
The United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Singapore were also rated as moderately vulnerable to dealing with corruption in defense institutions.
In a statement, incumbent President Karlo Nograles assured that the government’s defense and security sectors would be aware of the issues raised by TI.
He also said that “the civil society organization has recognized that the fight against corruption in the Philippines is relatively robust in military operations.” He linked this with President Rodrigo Dutertes “zero tolerance for allegations of misconduct”.
Nograles also noted how Duterte exonerated many senior military officials in 2018 for alleged corruption activities in a military hospital. From November 2020 to June 2021, Duterte announced the sacking of 261 public officials and the suspension of 187 others.
Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana stressed in a separate statement that the country’s defense system “played a major role in achieving our rating”.
“The professionalism of our AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) staff, who continuously develop the organization and lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness in all of our operations, also contributed to our assessment,” he added.
Lorenzana also said the AFP would heed TI’s recommendations to improve its system to eradicate corruption in the military.