On Corruption at DPWH: Secretary’s ‘Authority’ vs Congressmen’s ‘Influence’

The DPWH Secretary has full authority to assign personnel under his department, including the district engineers, unless he delegates it to his regional directors or if Malacañang overrides the assignments on very few occasions.

We also know that district representatives almost always use their influence in having their “favorite” district engineers assigned to their districts for a very obvious purpose: to have full control in the implementation of their “pet projects” funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption.

Almost anything that has to do with politics in this country breeds corruption. Politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play – whether it is in aid of reelection or enrichment of an elected official while in power, the result is the same. Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started.

We only need to drive around the country to see and experience it everyday, in the form of dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects. Potholes and clogged drainage are commonplace during and after the rains; worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, and many more evidence in plain sight.

This is the main reason why I abhor and remain outspoken against the pork barrel system more than a decade before the Supreme Court ruled on its unconstitutionality in 2013. The national budget is the most violated, if not the most abused law of the land. The abominable part is, the violators are lawmakers and those tasked to implement the GAA. That is why we are so screwed up as a country for as long as we remember politicians.

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