Thursday, September 13, 2007
Where the man with his hand on the tiller has his other hand in the till
Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada's conviction and sentencing on corruption charges comes as no surprise. There is little doubt of Estrada's guilt; nevertheless, one can have some sympathy with his claim that the verdict was a political decision. After all, he was only doing on a bigger scale what most politicians do. If every corrupt office-holder in the Philippines was imprisoned, there would be barely a dozen public offices in the country left occupied. This is, after all, the only nation to have two former leaders in Transparency International's all-time World's Ten Most Corrupt Leaders list: Estrada himself at 10 and Ferdinand Marcos at 2 - and we should remember that Imelda Marcos has never surrendered the latter's ill-gotten gains.