Kleptocracy in Iloilo City

The corruption in the Iloilo City Hall has reached such massive proportions that a word that found extensive usage during the martial laws years is finding its way back into the everyday vocabulary of ordinary citizens. “Kleptocracy” is defined by Mirriam-Websters Dictionary as a “government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed”. Just one look at what is happening in Iloilo City will convince everybody the word aptly describes the kind of government under Jed Patrick E. Mabilog.

For more than two years now, Mabilog has presided over a systematic plunder of the public treasury of City Hall. No transaction is spared. And Mabilog has always made sure his pet projects designed to deliver maximum kickbacks get top priority for funding, even at the expense of more urgent projects and programs. The objective is not public service, but personal gain or profit.

Mabilog is driven by profits. He wants to make tons and tons of money. And for him, there is no better place to make money than public office. He considers the public treasury his private bank account. He draws money as much as he likes. He spends as much as he likes. He makes sure every transaction generates a fat kickback for him.

This is sad. A lot of people had pinned their hopes that a young man like Mabilog would shun corruption and devote his energies to improving the lives of the people through a frugal management of taxpayers’ money. The exact opposite has happened. At no time has frugality entered Mabilog’s mind. He subordinated the public interest to his greed.

But there is now a groundswell of dissatisfaction and anger against the brand of governance being practiced by Mabilog. Businessmen and property owners who have to pay more for real property taxes are quietly mounting a campaign to end this kleptocracy. The labor class is mobilizing to jettison Mabilog for not even bothering to look after their welfare. The poor now understand their plight is not in the agenda of this city mayor.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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