Graft and Corruption is an evil that affects many levels and areas of life. Graft and corruption is a sin that cries to heaven especially if it is committed against the poor people, like poor drivers.
The Gospel (Luke 16/1-13) is about cheating and dishonesty. The Gospel is about a manager of business who was cheating the owner. About to be dismissed from work, this manager cheated by teaching some people to be dishonest, to tell a lie by lowering the amount they owed. Instead of paying the owner the right amount, the manager made the debtors indebted to him instead. He was getting the money which the debtors should be paying to the owner. That is cheating, that is telling a lie, a dishonesty.
In the same way, it is cheating and dishonesty to increase the amount higher than what one should pay according to stipulation. And so, for example, as what we have read in the local newspaper, if it is true, to increase the amount to be paid for transportation franchise from 810 pesos to some 35thousand pesos is an act of cheating and dishonesty, by whomever it is committed and against whomever it is committed. Such act of dishonesty is not only against the government but also against God, because it offends a fellow human being.
We must persuade and pray that those who are committing graft and corruption against the government and the taxpayers are harming the common good and the trust that people should have for them. Therefore, we should pray and call for their conversion and change of attitude.
As the saying goes: Be honest … even if others are not, even if others will not, even if others cannot. He who walks honestly, walks securely (Prov. 10/9). The Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals has this for their vision and motto in the business.
Or as we see in the posters around the town of Pavia: “Help fight graft and corruption. Be honest. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not make promises you cannot fulfill.”
We therefore support the advocacy of the citizenry, especially the drivers, for honesty in business. Our country remains poor because of projects that are substandard and because of overpricing of collectibles that are due. The country is poor enough, but it becomes poor when projects are either sub-standard or overpriced. The common good is sacrificed.
The gospel that we have proclaimed today from St. Luke 16 has a very practical application in our life and relationship. Only good and honest business can be God’s business.
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
September 3, 2009