A week into the rumpus the Metropolitan Police Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service have announced that they will convene a panel of lawyers and policemen to see if they should mount investigations which might lead to prosecutions. But people clearly want more than a convention of potential wrist slappers. There is a difference between manipulating a cozy system and downright dishonesty. Where fraud has been perpetrated prosecutions must follow. If the law does not do better than waffle on this, if there is seen to be one standard for lawmakers and another for the rest of us, then legal institutions will fall into as much disrepute as parliament now finds itself in.
Many now want the reforms of parliament to go further than cleaning up the expenses system. Does Britain really need as many as 645 MPs at Westminster, many are asking, especially now there is a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly too?
The next crucial stage, the one we are entering now, is that of MPs having to explain themselves to their constituents on their expenses claims. There is only one way of clearing the air: these meetings should be held in public and with the media present.
Monday, May 18, 2009
18 May 2009
Nothing can capture the outrage felt by the British public involving outrageous expense claims by their MPs than the video clips showing ordinary Brits expressing indignation over the still-brewing scandal.
Here are some video clips from CNN:
The disclosures have led to the resignations of Labour MP Shahid Malik and Conservative MP Andrew Mackay. More casualties are expected as the Daily Telegraph continues publishing more of these outlandish expense claims.
Similar disclosures of official expense claims by public officials should be done here in the Philippines so that voters, especially now that local and presidential elections are less than a year away, would have a fair, reasonable and undeniable basis of the actuations of their elected leaders.
CNN's reporting on this issue states one of the bottom lines: "There is only one way of clearing the air: these meetings should be held in public and with the media present."
Remember the revelations of Navy Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian and Malacañang's refusal to create a special board of inquiry to investigate her allegations while threatening to have her "apprehended"?
We need not wait for the 2010 elections to see change in the Philippines — we can have some of it now by asking for full and public disclosures of matters affecting the public interest!
For elected officials who spend the people's money, that's the way the Britons want it, that's the way we Pinoys should have it as well!