We are weeks away from the President-elect taking office and his four years of government will leave an important mark in terms of probity. During his campaign, Sebastián Piñera proposed three measures on transparency for the Parliament: to strengthen ethical and budgetary management control by creating a general comptroller’s office of the Congress that exercises its role with autonomy; to establish a permanent, collegiate, and independent body in charge of the general and superior management of the Congress, responsible for its administrative and economic management; and finally, to incorporate the annual obligation of parliamentarians to render public accounts in their districts and constituencies.
The citizenship witnessed that some parliamentarians made expenses with the corporation’s funds and that under a “compliance” model, surely those expenses would not have been generated. Let us remember the controversy due to the accusation that Senator Guillier paid for reports copied from the Internet with everyone’s resources.
The challenges for the new government are greater in terms of creating a culture of governmental compliance. Not only the private sector must be an actor in transparency matters; the public sector must do it even more strongly, particularly because it is financed with money from all Chileans.
The recommendation at a general level has to do with more concrete and easy to understand measures: to verify that the prevailing laws are complied with and not to add others if there are problems to comply with the current ones; and to review everything that has to do with the penalties applicable to a crime. It does not seem to make sense that when faced with infractions to the consumer law, executives should be punished by attending ethics classes instead of answering with their assets or with jail when they commit an infraction.
We are in the OECD; we must move towards those standards and for that, we need our authorities to be referents of probity and transparency. They must set an example. President Piñera should take advantage of his experience in the public and private sectors to launch a battery of forceful measures to curb corruption and bad practices.