There is growing furor in the Philippines about endemic corruption which is rapidly eroding public confidence in the nation’s institutions. Speaker of the House Jose de Venecio called upon President Gloria Macapagal to lead a “moral revolution” before there is a complete collapse of public trust. He cited the enormous influence possessed by drug and gambling lords who are funding elections in order to ensure no action is taken against their activities. National Security Adviser, Norberto Gonzalez claims, “I’m raising corruption as a national security threat. It has become the system of the country.” In 2005, there was a scandal when it was revealed the president had conversations with the Election Commission about ensuring she emerged from the election with at least a million vote majority. This week two governors said they recently emerged from a meeting with President Macapagal and received paper bags as they left containing 500,000 pesos($11,360). On Tuesday, Catholic bishops said actions by the nation’s leaders reflected a “moral bankruptcy.”
The Philippine is engaged in a violent civil war against al-Qaeda style Muslim rebels who control large areas in southern parts of the nation. Allegations of corruption hurt any efforts to end the insurgency because if people lose confidence in their nation’s leadership it makes more difficult the task of ending an insurgency.