This article first appeared in Revista Capital on October 16, 2019.
All of us in the country have a responsibility to make society fairer and fairer. By this, I mean that we must be more aware and responsible regarding the accusations we make public: how does it affect a company if the accusations are false? or would justice be able to find all the evidence of the cases?
Now that we are much more aware of corruption and the cases that have occurred in our country -in the private and public sector-, it seems more and more normal, we have even become accustomed, to seeing companies, politicians, and individuals being judged by the press and public opinion, before a formal process, necessary to clarify the facts, is carried out.
An example of this is the complaint recently filed in the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office (FNE), and parallel by the press, by two deputies against two last-mile delivery applications, for dividing the market between them. If the accusation is true, it is a serious action that affects consumers directly, for which the FNE will have to investigate if such actions occurred.
That said, it is unlikely that two members of Congress, who are responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and institutions, would make public statements before due process.
It is positive -and it has always been- that people denounce illicit acts so that the corresponding entities investigate each action in depth. However, if it is made public before the investigation has begun, it is negative for everyone, since, if the complaint is true, the prosecuted companies will be able to erase or eliminate all kinds of evidence, and if it is false, it affects the reputation so precious and that costs so much to build. Then, why make the complaints publicly and not privately so that the investigations are not hindered?
We must all remember that respect for the institutional framework is key for both the economic system and democracy to persist.
Everyone in the country has a responsibility so that society becomes fairer and fairer. By this, I mean that we must be more conscious and responsible regarding the accusations we make public. How does it affect a company if the accusations are false? or would justice be able to find all the evidence of the cases?
I do not want to dwell this time on whether a company, person, or institution is guilty or not. I would like us all to understand those investigations, when private and properly conducted, reach the right conclusions.
Despite the latest scandals in our country, our institutions are solid, so we have to trust them and their work. According to a global report on the Capacity to Compact Corruption (The Capacity to Compact Corruption), 2019, Chile is considered as the country with the best perception in anti-corruption issues in Latin America, thanks to its legal capacity, its democracy, and political institutions, civil society, and private sector. We are a country that works hard against corruption and we must keep it that way. One of the key points for this is to let the competent agencies do their job properly to prosecute properly, before publicly blaming.
It is easier to find culprits or the truth of the facts if confidentiality is maintained during the process, as it is key to carry out the litigation in an integrated manner, clarifying any irregular situation.
Although corruption will probably never cease to exist, we must be clear that we can contribute. We must take action. First of all, as citizens, we can all file anonymous complaints when we have credible evidence of wrongdoing. This, in turn, will lead to an investigation that will judge if necessary.
I call on us to put our interests aside and focus on what society needs. Above all, authorities set the tone with their ideas and statements.
By Susana Sierra