Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Donald McConville
McCONVILLE: Yes, there was certainly the problem of corruption. Now, during the time I was there, we had no problems with the American officers. Subsequently there was a guy who was there when I first arrived - and this happened after I left; he was not in the visa section; he was actually in special consular services - who later got into a great deal of hot water and finally ended his career in the Foreign Service because he got involved with some sex scandal related to consular work. But we did have some Filipino local personnel, the FSN (Foreign Service National), who got into trouble. In fact, in the Philippines in any two- or three-year period, almost always there was some corruption problem that would emerge with the local employees. Now, the local employees we had on the whole were people of tremendous integrity. With Filipino people, everything was very personal with them, and if they felt that you were treating them well as an employee, they would show you loyalty that was just beyond belief. They would do almost anything for you. And you had to know they were under a lot of pressure all the time, so I tried to do everything I could to lift the pressure from them, to not put them in a position where they had to make any kind of decisions and so forth that were too significant. And I tried to keep a dialogue going with them so that, if they felt they were under any pressure at times, they could confide in me a little bit. In the usual Filipino way, it wouldn't be directly tell me what the problem was so much as let me know there was a problem and I could move them within our structure and get them out of the direct firing line. But there were a couple that succumbed during that period, and we had to deal with that. It was an ongoing problem. I had enormous respect for our local employees, and I tried to do everything I could to try to ease the pressure on them. If I saw any of them being badgered at all out there, I would quickly step in and insist that person, if they had problem, take it up with me and not one of our FSNs.