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Parañaque City Mayor Florencio Bernabe, Jr. (second from left) is awarded a water-themed painting by Artist Ivan Acuña; the MWSI Special Partnership Award; and a plaque of recognition from Maynilad officials (from left) President and CEO Victorico P. Vargas, Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chief Operations Officer Herbert M. Consunji and Chief Finance Officer Randolph T. Estrellado during the 5th Anniversary Celebrations of the Maynilad Water Services Inc. which was held recently at the SM Mall of Asia. The Special Partnership Award was given in recognition of the contribution of the Parañaque City Government and Mayor Jun Bernabe for the continued expansion of MWSI water services in the city. (Photo By: Jun Budlat)
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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Phl anti-corruption agencies need support of people, media – UK Judge

by Domingo B. Natividad V

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 11 (PIA) -- “They need and deserve the support of the people and also of the media.”

So said British Judge Michael Hopmeier of anti-corruption agencies in the country tasked to penalize government officials who had abused their powers and raided the coffers.

Hopmeier gave a talk on “Asset Recovery: An Anti-Corruption Tool” on Wednesday at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong. He has vast experience in anti-corruption legislation, implementation, and prosecution.

Hopmeier reminded the public that corruption destroys the rule of law and democratic institutions, thus, the need to support the judges, politicians, members of the justice department, and the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) who are one in the fight against corruption. “Corruption has no respect for the rule of law… and does not observe democratic accountability,” he said.

He said, “there is now an opportunity (to address the nation's problem on corruption) with the (Philippine) President earnestly desiring to tackle corruption.”

The Aquino government has remained steadfast in its pursuit to bring crooked public officials before the justice system and make them accountable for their misdeeds, including stealing from the people’s coffers.

Hopmeier said the Philippines already has the legislation that fights corruption but may not have, “an effective Asset Recovery department… and effective rules and procedures.”

“You’ve got the provisions to freeze assets. You’ve got the Act against Money Laundering, Act against Corrupt practices, Acts defining and penalizing the crime of plunder. And, you’ve got forfeiture proceedings,” he enumerated.

He also suggested the, “training of (Philippine) judges – judges who understand what needs to be done” in relation to the anti-corruption measures in the Philippines. “What can the judges do? In corruption cases, (they can) deal with it efficiently, expeditiously,” he said.

He reminded them that delay is the enemy of justice. “There is too much delay in your country… and that must be cut down – that is within the judges control,” he also said.

Also, he said there has to be cooperation among countries in a concerted effort to curb corruption. “The corrupt Philippine public official is not likely to keep his money in the Philippines,” he pointed out.

Related to this, Hopmeier also proposed for the Philippine government, “to be hard on financial institutions as well” with the creation of related sanctions. This is so, as “chances are, the (illegal) money is transferred via the financial institutions.”

The Asset Recovery has been effectively aiding the United Kingdom (UK) in the implementation of its anti-corruption law and practical procedures. The critical measures under this tool - as presented by Hopmeier – are procedures employed for Confiscation, Restraint, and Investigation. (RJB/DBNV-PIA NCR)

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