The fight against corruption cannot be the responsibility of the nation state alone. Discuss
The question can be approach in a number of ways such as:
You could examine the role of international law in the fight against corruption
You could examine the role of the corporate sector and compliance regimes
You could examine the role of nation state (either generally or in a particular country) arguing that it cannot achieve success the fight against corruption on its own.
International law approach
Human rights approach
Critical legal theory approach
Corruption in the Philippines
Corruption is defined as the fraudulent or dishonest conduct by individuals who are in power and an example of this is bribery, falsification, manipulation, or adulteration of resources (Rose-Ackerman and Palifka, 2016, p. 50). It is a multi-dimensional and complex issue which requires answers which can act as its response in an intricate manner. The fight against corruption is such an issue which is gaining a lot of significance in the international and regional agendas. Corruption, along with its ill-effects is something which transcends national borders. The recent history appears to confirm this idea that the incidents of corruption do cross the border for instance the transnational bribery, as is money laundering, terrorism, and the psychotropic substance trafficking, which damages the quality of relations present between the states, along with the quality of governance. As a result of this, this becomes a threat to the security and democracy of every nation. An effective prevention, fight or even research on this matter cannot be deemed as the obligation or the responsibility of a nation as a state alone (Michele, 2002, p. 3).
This discussion is focused on showing that the state alone cannot be successful in its fight against corruption. In doing so, the context of Philippines would be discussed where the role of it as a nation state would be analysed and it would be showed how Philippines cannot succeed in its efforts till the time the other member states help it in doing the same. In doing so, the socio-legal approach would be adopted, where instead of stating the law, the factors which affect the same have been elucidated.
Key argument: Examining the role of nation state (in particular Philippines) arguing that it cannot “alone” success the fight against corruption.
Philippines is a nation, which suffers from rampant and wide-spread corruption and the means which are used for indulging in corrupt acts include embezzlement, patronage, nepotism, graft, backdoor deals and bribery (You, 2014, 194). As a result of the high corruption levels in the nation, the efficiency of the business which is carried on in the nation is restricted. The presence of extensive bribery in the public administration, along with the complex and vague laws has made the companies vulnerable to be manipulated and extorted by the public officials. The incidents of undue influence and favoritism are very common in the courts which results in unfair and time consuming dispute resolution, which again results in uncertain business environment (GAN Integrity, 2017).
The Limitations of the State
The present administration is plagued with corruption and companies routinely undertake fraud when filing the export import documentation. Active and passive bribery is criminalized in the nation through the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, along with the conflict of interest and abuse of office. Giving gifts is prohibited, unless they are of insignificant value with the local customs. However, anti-corruption regulations do not address the facilitation payments and there is no criminalization of private sector bribery. There is scattering of legislative framework for fighting corruption, along with the same not being enforced in an effective manner through non-cooperative and weak law enforcement agencies (Quah, 2010, p. 10).
The business at the present day is not confined to the boundaries of the nation. In other words, as a result of globalization, the business is conducted across different nations. Due to this, the actions undertaken by one company in their home nation, or in other nation states can easily impact the globe. Philippines is also impacted due to such reasons, when the people or businesses from across the globe come in the nation to indulge in activities like bribery, to get favors or turn a decision towards them. Irrespective of the steps taken by the nation states, till the time each and every nation state takes a stand against corruption, it would continue. And this is true even when the nation adopts a comprehensive corruption policy, as the cross-country entities would still propagate such acts (Johnston, 2014, p. 23).
This can be further explained in context of the custom administrations prevalent in the nation. While dealing with the customs administration, there is a high chance of encountering corruption. The companies have indicated that there is a common parlance in payments and bribes in export and import procedures. Around a quarter of the companies had indicated that they were expected to give gifts in order to get import license. The Bureau of Customs was indicated in a business survey as the sole receiving agency of very bad rating when it came to fighting corruption as its commitment. The burden of import procedure, in addition to corruption is cited as the most problematic factor for importing at the border. The time predictability and efficiency of the procedures had been rated poorly. In comparison to the regional average, the compliance costs in Philippines were very high. The smuggling of goods as per the Bureau included oil, cigarettes and oil in the nation, which has resulted in evasion of taxes. There is a constant fraud in terms of under invoicing while exporting and importing, which costs the nation revenue in billions every year (GAN Integrity, 2017).
The Need for International Cooperation
Even though this shows that Philippines has corruption which is internal, but the socio-legal approach requires an approach to be adopted which is beyond the laws and which is based on the factors and situations which revolve around it. The reason for high corruption is because the foreign entities use techniques of bribes and gifts in order to get the necessary licenses. So, the nation state cannot fight such instances, particularly when the same are propagated through external factors. In order to deal with these issues, Philippines became a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (Export, 2017). The reason for inclining with this convention is that the nation alone cannot deal with this global menace, and the nation states need to come together to respond to this problem. This convention goes beyond the laws of the nations in fighting corruption and moves towards identifying the causes of the same. The aim of this convention is to assist the states where there is high level of corruption but requires a clear commitment from the signatories of this convention.
On the Annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the nation fell down, which shows the government of Philippines is failing in dealing with corruption, despite the different legislations drawn by it. Even the war on drugs has resulted in no impact on corruption rampant in the nation. It is slipping in global rankings owing to the perceived level of public sector corruption. The war on drugs, by the government, is deemed as a violation of the human rights by the critics of the government. There has been rise in the attacks on journalists, along with a rise in misinformation on social media and proliferation of fake news. This poor performance has been attributed to the lack of oversight, shrinking space for civil society, unaccountable governments, and insecurity. This rising corruption is not going to be confined to the nation alone (Rappler, 2017). This again requires the role of international agencies and the other nation states to help Philippines so that such incidents do not creep in other nations, and become another Philippines. As the different policies adopted by the nation, in context of different legislation, policies and statues have failed to curb the corruption in the nation, the other nation states need to help Philippines in its fight against corruption. This particularly is true in context of the socio-legal approach, due to the social aspect being given the preference, where the situational factors are given due consideration, which require the assistance of other nations, in order to bring clarity and adherence to the law (Szarek-Mason, 2010, p. 133).
Thus, from this discussion, it becomes clear that Philippines are dealing with high corruption problem. The level of corruption is not only present in the private sector, but is more rampant in its public sector. The government bodies and the public offices are full of corrupt individuals, which are further enhanced as the entities of the other nation states indulge in such corrupt activities, to get their work done. A more important issue which needs immediate consideration is that corruption in Philippines would not be confined to the boundaries of the nation. With time, it would spread in other nation states and this would then become a problem of such other nation states. As a result of this, there is a need for the nation states to come together in its fight against corruption and help the most corrupt nations, for instance Philippines, in bringing down the level of corruption and eradicating in a phased manner. On its own, Philippines has failed in effectively defending itself against corruption, which requires the nation states across the globe to help Philippines. This is inclined to the socio-legal approach as the same requires the social factors to be considered to give rise to healthy debates on law, as it helps in understanding the role of law with the social factors. Here, the social factors are the prevalence of corruption in Philippines which has resulted in the drawn laws proving as a failure. Thus, socio legal approach also requires the nation states to join forces in dealing with corruption, in order to give law its required meaning.
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Gunnarsson, A., and Svensson, E. (2016) Exploiting the Limits of Law: Swedish Feminism and the Challenge to Pessimism. Oxon: Routledge.
Johnston, M. (2014) Corruption, contention and reform: the power of deep democratization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kubal, A. (2016) Socio-Legal Integration: Polish Post-2004 EU Enlargement Migrants in the United Kingdom. Oxon: Routledge.
Michele, R.D. (2002) The Summit – A Multi-Faceted Agenda. Summits of the Americas Bulletin, 1(2), pp. 3.
Perry-Kessaris, A. (2013). Socio-legal approaches to international economic law: text, context, subtext. Oxon: Routledge.
Quah, J. S. (2010) Curbing corruption in the Philippines: is this an impossible dream?. Philippine Journal of Public Administration, 54(1-2), pp. 1-43.
Rappler. (2017) PH ranking in global corruption index worsens. [Online] Rappler. Available from: https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/corruption/159439-philippines-corruption-perceptions-index-2016-rank [Accessed on: 09/12/17]
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Schiff, D.N. (1976) Socio-Legal Theory: Social Structure and Law. The Modern Law Review, 39(3), pp. 287-310.
Szarek-Mason, P. (2010) The European Union's fight against corruption: the evolving policy towards Member States and candidate countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
You, J. S. (2014) Land Reform, Inequality, and Corruption: A Comparative Historical Study of Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. SSRN Paper.
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