The “Honest” Corruption,
“Dirty” Money, and the Lenient Filipinos
By Apolinario Villlaobos
A lawmaker blatantly and sounding with authority declared that receiving money from Napoles is not bad, because it is “her own”, from her bank account, not from any government account. Simply said, only Napoles alone is guilty of corruption because she “directly” stole the people’s money, not those in the government whose palms she greased with money that she sanitized by temporarily depositing and transferring them into several bank accounts before finally depositing them in her own account. If this is how our lawmakers think, our country is really going to the dogs!
No wonder why, years before election, there is a quandary in “raising funds” by politicians, thinking that the money they will eventually amass are theirs, because they did not directly come from the government coffer. That is how the lawmaker was trying to say, exposing himself to the people, because of his thorough knowledge of the plunder process in the Phlippines. It looks like, he knows the process by heart, and his statement implies that he is doing it himself. I wonder if he is also a high school graduate.
Corruption in the Philippines has sadly become part of its political culture. A popular adage is that if one would want to get rich instantly, he should join politics. The People Power did little, if ever, to improve the lot of the people, because only faces changed when Cory Aquino assumed the presidency. The same corrupt attitude is still there, saturating the air of Senate, Congress, even the Palace. The good thing that the People Power did was inspire other countries, especially, Poland. It showed again, that the Philippines is only good in initiating… there is no consistency in what we do.
Several elections were held, and always, vote-buying was involved. The latest election showed the most scandalous vote buying ever, but although apprehensions were made and cases filed in the COMELEC, nothing came out of them. It is this indifferent attitude of concerned agencies that embolden corrupt officials, and further cultivate this wicked aspect of Philippine political culture. Compared to a tree, it has grown robustly and become deeply rooted to the ground, and only God knows how the bad tree can be uprooted.
People in the government see peso opportunity in everything that they do. This embarrassing attitude has put the image of the Filipinos in a bad light, even on the issue of donations. A glaring situation is how billions of dollars of donations for the rehabilitation of the victims of typhoon Yolanda are being handled. Foreign donors were shocked to learn that after many months, only fifty relocation houses were built for the victims in Tacloban. The government’s rehabilitation effort with the support of the donated dollars and deposited in fat accounts pales in comparison as regards the extent of progress accomplished by the private NGOs in building relocation structures. Even the rehabilitation czar himself, Ping Lacson, complains about the indifference of two agencies that are supposed to be actively involved. This is just the tip of iceberg, as they say, because nothing has been mentioned yet, about sold donated goods, which concerned agencies, expectedly deny to death.
Let us see what will happen to the planned extensive construction of facilities that will be used by the Americans in the Philippines, as part of the enhanced defense agreement. I am pretty sure that voluptuous lobbyists a la Napoles are already honing their English vocabulary. And, I am sure that strategies are already being planned in connivance with the “insiders”…where they are now, I know that intelligent viewers also know.
The Christian is us made us soft-hearted…easy to forgive. We are supposed to be proud of this, yes, supposedly proud. Unfortunately, we also abuse it to the fore, to the point of being lenient, indifferent. Most Filipinos are contented as fence-sitters, observers, waiting for bigger things to happen. Some are even blind, barking at the wrong tree, holding rallies in front of the US embassy when the hot issue is on the bullying of China. It took an emotional call from a brave and young Vietnamese woman for a support from the Filipinos to join them in their rally in front of the Chinese embassy, before a small contingent of “militant” Filipinos with red flags finally joined them. It took world-wide publicities on the rampant burning of Chinese factories in Vietnam, before the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs again spoke and “complained” about the bullying of China. Filipinos do not have the heart to burn Chinese factories in our country because doing so will aggravate poverty among our people, and we know why. What we can afford to burn are just effigies of grinning Pnoy and Obama and a small Chinese flag. But what else can we do when the Chinese are sending out strong messages that they do not want any mediation in the settlement of the confrontation? While the National Defense people spend precious time in front of TV cameras showing photos and talk about issues already known, the Chinese are making leaps in the construction of helipads, air strips and multi-story structures on reclaimed shoals in question.
I am proud as a Filipino, but suffer, too, in a way, because of what some of my countrymen are doing – the government people personalities who breathe corruption and some countrymen who tolerate them. The shame cannot be overshadowed by what some of my countrymen are doing to excel in some fields of endeavor. Yes, I am proud because Filipino entrants give chills to other contestants in international singing and beauty competitions. And, Pacquiao showed that a Filipino can be a pugilist with international caliber, too. But, can we have a singing president? A pugilist congressman, yes, but can he assume responsibilities as president? They can inspire, but to what extent?
Personally, I think, the Philippines is ripe for a mediatory takeover by a third party. The United Nations is there with this purpose. With the internal anomalies and external threats, aggravated by helplessness due to the lack of a sound defensive machinery, we are practically exposed. Without being vocal about it, the government seemed to have conformed with what some government lawmakers call as one-sided provisions of the enhanced defense agreement in favor of the Americans, hoping that Uncle Sam can prop up the country in case of a confrontation with China. Propping up is different from defending. USA has a vested interest in China economically, so how can the former afford to lose such a precious economic ally? The Philippines can just become a compromised “state” in the long run. Economically, it is clear that the country is dependent on the Chinese, such that even toothpicks and cotton balls are from China, we have vast deposits of natural resources but we have no capability to exploit them so we need moneyed foreigners to do this, and in running the government, well, many groups are asserting that the US government has already been pulling the strings since time immemorial, as if doing a puppet show. So, what “surprising” else is new?
If the nightmarish scenario happens, our rich brethren with ready passports duly marked with visas can easily evacuate to countries of their choice. Some with families permanently residing in the US have no problem. The rest can stay behind, hoping that new blessings will be savored. I am just presenting a real picture here, so I just hope that readers or viewers will not consider me as a negativist. I am just being realistic and in my own small way, articulate observations that most of the Filipinos refuse to let go off their mind.