Mayor Vico on being named anti-corruption champ: We need to fight corruption, denormalize it

Published February 25, 2021, 12:47 AM

by Jel Santos & Patrick Garcia

After being named by the US State Department as one of its 12 international anti-corruption champions, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto called on the public to fight corruption by denormalizing it.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto (Photo from Vico Sotto’s official Facebook page)

“If we want better long-term governance, we need to fight corruption. We have to denormalize it, get it out of our culture,” Sotto said in his official Twitter account.

The US State Department hailed the young mayor for prioritizing anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in the City of Pasig.

Sotto expressed gratitude to the US State Department for the recognition. 

“But more than the recognition, I hope this helps raise awareness,” the mayor said.

The International Anti-corruption Champions Award of the US State Department, which seeks to recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption, described Sotto as a “standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians.”

It took note of Sotto’s winning the election, putting an end to the 27-year-reign of a political family in Pasig City in 2019.

Moreover, the US State Department said one of the highlights of Sotto’s career was in authoring the first Freedom of Information (FOI) ordinance in Metro Manila, making it faster for residents to ask for documents for transparency’s sake.

The 11 other individuals recognized by the US State Department were:

  • Ardian Dvorani – a judge and member of the Justice Appointments Council who is a key proponent of reforming Albania’s judicial system.
  • Diana Salazar – Ecuador’s Attorney General who prosecuted some of the Andean region’s highest-profile corruption cases, demonstrably improved the anticorruption atmosphere in Ecuador, and served as a hero to judges, lawyers, and prosecutors throughout South America. 
  • Sophia Pretrick – an investigative advisor for the Compliance Investigation Division of the Pohnpei State Auditor of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), almost single-handedly raised the profile of anticorruption activities in the FSM through her unique blend of government intervention and grassroots advocacy. 
  •  Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro – chief of the Special Prosecutors Office Against Corruption and Impunity in Guatemala, has succeeded in battling persistent and systemic corruption in Guatemala.
  • Ibrahima Kalil Gueye – Chair and cofounder of the Organization for Positive Change in Guinea, an NGO focusing on good governance, peace, and education.
  • Anjali Bhardwaj – served as an active member of the Right to Information Movement in India for over two decades.
  • Dhuha A. Mohammed – the director general for Electronic Payments at the Central Bank of Iraq, has prevented payroll fraud by working to make Iraq’s payroll system more transparent.
  • Bolot Temirov – an investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of and one of the most effective and influential anticorruption advocates in the Kyrgyz Republic.
  • Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla – the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation who played an integral role in protecting Libya’s natural resources, the country’s economic lifeline, from predatory internal and external actors during waves of conflict.
  • Francis Ben Kaifala – demonstrated strong leadership as the Commissioner of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which has implemented a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy resulting in investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of public officials from both the current Sierra Leone People’s Party administration and the previous All People’s Congress-led government.