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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo Anti-corruption Bill Not long ago, even President Enrique Peña Nieto tried to evade the subject of corruption in the Mexican government claiming “it’s a cultural thing.”
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Prior to Easter several private citizens’ organizations introduced a bill to the Mexican Congress called 3 for 3. The groups delivered in person at the Senate 14 cardboard boxes containing 294,000 leaves of paper signed by voters backing the initiative.

The “3x3” bill aims at literally forcing Congress into approving the National Anti-corruption System into law and the three basic points it seeks is to have public officials – both elected and appointed – comply with three prerequisites before being sworn into office.

Those three demands are:

The official must present a “patrimonial declaration” stating all properties, bank accounts, business income and the entirety his/her wealth before taking office.

Second, the official must declare whatever vested interests he or she has.

Third, a tax return.

Besides these three top citizens’ demands to stop corruption, there are other 15 points named in the 3×3 bill regarding the administrative responsibilities as well as a long list of sanctions against the corrupt.

From the point of view of those sending their 3×3 demands to Congress to discuss and approve this bill, corruption is one of the most nefarious habits both elected and appointed officials can incur once in power.

Not long ago, even President Enrique Peña Nieto tried to evade the subject of corruption in the Mexican government claiming “it’s a cultural thing.” This comment only infuriated those behind the 3×3 bill who immediately retorted that “corruption is theft and theft is not cultural.”

According to one of the groups introducing the 3×3 bill to Congress, Mexican Transparency, government and private officials commit 220 million (you read right, 220 million) acts of corruption in Mexico on a yearly basis, 90 percent of which goes unpunished or even “unseen” regardless of the fact that Mexicans see officials go from rags to riches overnight.

This suggests, says Mexican Transparency, that even democracy in Mexico is corrupt and that about the only way to prevent crooks in government and their private sector cronies from giving kickbacks for contracts is an authoritarian dictatorship. A law such as 3×3 could prevent this and corruption itself.

Another question that arises is how well this bill is received by both houses of Congress made up of elected officials.

A clear message sent to them by those filing the 3×3 bill is that “honesty is not a virtue” and that the people of Mexico demand honesty in the behavior of all those serving (not helping themselves) in government.

Truth be said during many years all previous congresses have pussyfooted regarding the implementation of a tough anti-corruption bill that is made effective in bringing to those who commit acts of corruption to face a court of law and be accused for their crime. This has never happened and when it has, at worst a public official of their private enterprise cronies get is a mild admonishment.

At present people feel corruption is on the rise, which deeply erodes their efforts made over the past 25 years to have an effective, and honest, democracy.

Impunity against the corrupt reigns, and the gist of the 3×3 bill is that Congress lawmakers must bring an end to it.

The problem is, will they?

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