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Treading the straight and righteous path: curbing corruption in the Philippines

Eric Vincent C. Batalla (Political Science Department, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine the anti-corruption performance of the Philippine government, particularly under the leadership of President Benigno Aquino III.


The paper evaluates the anti-corruption measures as represented by pertinent laws as well as anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) under the Aquino administration.


The Aquino government has exercised remarkable political will in acting on high-profile cases involving former government officials, including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. However, the government’s overall anti-corruption performance is hampered by outdated and conflicting laws, lack of compliance with anti-corruption laws and regulations by public officials and employees, poor ACA operational capacities, judicial inefficiency, deficient organizational systems and change-resistant government agencies, and selective and partial enforcement of anti-corruption laws. These problems are characteristic of Philippine political administrations and are arguably rooted in a system long characterized by fragile state institutions, strong oligarchic control, and weak citizenship.


The paper is intended to update scholars, policy makers, and anti-corruption practitioners interested in corruption, ACA performance, and political reform in the Philippines. It discusses corruption-related problems of public administration within the purview of political economy. Based on this perspective, it argues that the key to effective control of corruption is a change in the political system’s configuration rather than the mere change in leadership.



The author would like to thank Jon S.T. Quah and Michael Johnston for their comments and suggestions. The paper also benefited from comments by participants of the workshop, “Fighting Corruption in Asian Countries,” held at Shih Hsin University Taiwan in June 2014. The author expresses his gratitude to De La Salle University for its continuing support of his research.


Batalla, E.V.C. (2015), "Treading the straight and righteous path: curbing corruption in the Philippines", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 51-75.



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