Not just one text away

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    THE Palace has boasted, as it has always boasted, that corrupt officials of the government should better resign, mend their ways, admit their wrongdoings and leave the service, because they are just “one text away” from being punished by President Duterte.

    Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque, who hurled this threat, was referring to the public’s newly opened access to Hotline 8888 where citizens with complaints of all sorts, including charges of graft and corruption and inefficiency of government employees, may be sent.

    “Those who are corrupt, lazy, incompetent in the government, be forewarned. You are now one text away,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

    Roque referred to the novel platform or communication channel which they launched on November 3. The Office of the President has teamed with local telecommunication firms such as Smart and Globe on the establishment of a text service platform of the 8888 complaint hotline. The 8888 citizens’ complaint center is an office under the OP Strategic Action and Response Office.

    ‘Thus, the latest text hotline may just be inutile and the hundreds of complaints expected to come in through it would just gather dust, if the country’s dispensation of justice remains the way it is.’

    “This new platform or communication channel, which had its soft launch last November 3, would certainly give a boost to the good governance drive of the Duterte administration,” Roque said. Citizens can now simply text 8888 from both Globe and Smart and their affiliate telcos and raise their concerns, complaints and grievances on graft and corrupt practices of officials and employees and slow and inefficient delivery of government services and requests for government assistance — free of charge.

    What the presidential spox missed is that the filing of complaints thru SMS is just the initial step. These charges will still have to undergo labyrinthine processes in the bureaucracy before final sanctions or punishments are meted out.

    As an example, President Duterte has received from his own anti-graft unit, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) headed by Commissioner Greco Belgica, the list of congressmen who are allegedly conniving with officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and private contractors without scruples in cheating the government of millions of pesos worth of projects. Belgica’s report is said to contain many details, interviews and information from first-hand sources. But the President said he does not have jurisdiction over members of the House of Representatives, and could not even reveal their names.

    Again, the buck will pass to the Office of the Ombudsman, which by now has so many cases to attend to, considering that the Department of Justice and other line departments of the Executive are all ramping up probes against their own.

    Thus, the latest text hotline may just be inutile and the hundreds of complaints expected to come in through it would just gather dust, if the country’s dispensation of justice remains the way it is.