Philippine Election: A Choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Philippine Election: A Choice between the Devil
and the Deep Blue Sea
by Apolinario Villalobos

The murky Philippine politics is such that the Filipinos are always left with a choice between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea…both bad enough, at the onset of election. The worse that can happen is inaction or abstinence on the part of the voters, which robs them, on the other hand, of their right to exercise their ultimate authority as citizens.

The eager candidates who are currently holding sensitive positions in the government who already want to earn mileage of exposure at the earliest allowable time, shamelessly use these to their advantage. The opposing parties on the other hand, move heaven and earth to demolish their reputation by bringing into light past graft cases or build new cases against them, based on allegation of cohorts. As a result, the valuable time of these officials are charged to the taxpayers while seemingly endless self-serving investigations go on, although, they reveal helpful information, at the same time. What is glaring is that both the investigated and the investigators have shares of guilt.

Part of the dirty tactic during election that has become a traditional practice is vote buying which made running for any position very expensive as those interested need to have millions to spare during the campaign period. Those lucky enough to get favorable results in this venture, try hard to recover whatever they have spent and even more. This gave rise to the popular adage that the easiest way to get rich is for one to enter politics. This could be true because those who joined the race and got blessed with overwhelming votes become rich even after just a couple of years in their position.

My statements may be general, although I know that there are still some in the political arena, very few who try hard to maintain a clean image. These are those who do not survive the rigorous occupation eventually, hence, bow out after just one term…I have talked to them.

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The Philippine Justice System…can it still be trusted?

The Philippine Justice System…can it still be trusted?
By Apolinario Villalobos

Some people mispronounce “lawyer” as “liar”. At the rate guilty parties get scot-free despite their glaring offenses, the second allusion to the lawyer as a liar, seems to hold water. But, before all lawyers condemn me, I would like to make it clear that just like the rest of professions that are tinted with dishonesty, there are some law practitioners who try their best to be honest…still. In this profession, the rule is “my words against your words”. Whoever can persuade the presiding judge based on their painstakingly researched proof, makes the day. That is supposed to be way how the trial should be done.

Today, however, there are factors to consider: integrity of the presiding judge and cost of the influence, name of the lawyer, influence of the media in case of sensational issues, and persistent courage of the aggrieved to pursue the case.

It cannot be denied that some judges have been disrobed of their authority after giving in to the tempting offer of wealthy defendants in connivance with their lawyers. News items about this shameful occurrence, find their space in broadsheets and tabloids, even broadcasted over radio and television. The future of a case may also hinge on the image of the lawyer, as those with historically reputable name are given more positive expectation, an impression that counts a lot. For the sensational cases, the media plays a vital role as it can stir the public’s emotion and opinion. On the other hand, the courageous persistence of the aggrieved will decide if the case will still be pursued, in the face of tempting “compensation” in exchange for their grief.

The popular joke is that, if one wants to hear the best lies, he better attend trials in court. It is where one can hear oratorical dissertations that can move one to shed a tear or two and can turn one into a savage seething with anger. All these happen under, not the gaze, as the eyes are covered, but the shadow of the so-called Lady Justice holding a weighing scale perfectly balanced.

However, one particular and interesting opportunity can be viewed via TV – the Binay case. The viewers with weak and sickly heart, though, are counseled not to view it as they will just clasp their painful chest after witnessing the effort of his lawyers in covering very obvious wrongdoings with their circuitous statements. These “lawyers” try their best to bleach clean their client, hoping to high heavens that the senators and the viewing public will believe them just because they finished their Law from reputable universities!

In view of the above, with earnest and all innocence, I wonder if the Lady Justice is still reliable today. Can she defend the innocent Filipinos facing trial, with her sword? Can she make a good judgment, ensuring a perfectly-balanced scale with her eyes covered? Obviously, with her uncovered ears, her judgment shall be based on the best delivered lies!

Trust

Trust
By Apolinario Villalobos

Trust is faith. I wholeheartedly let go of this word from my mind when a viewer of my blogs expressed that he is always looking forward to them. I believed his appreciation for the blogs without doubting his sincerity. In return, I told him that I trust him…because somehow he understood my sentiments and even make connection through his comments to enhance my views. Another viewer added his inspiring comment that further enhanced my view. My trust in them is such, that it is not tainted with even a speck of doubt to their sincerity.

We cannot live in this world if we cannot trust our fellowman even a bit. For instance, we entrust our teeth to our dentist whose expertise has been patiently tested, our general health to our family doctor whose prescription for just the best medicine has been proven, the security of our home to our house help every time we leave for work, the manufacturers as we buy their products in securely sealed packaging, and many more. Practically, even the air that we breathe is trusted to be still tolerably clean despite what we already knew how polluted it is. In other words, we have no choice. Risk is also involved at all times, of being exploited by the shrewd, for which all we can do is just be doubly cautious.

If we cannot trust others, it means that we better lead a lonely life. But this is impossible, even those with vows such as the monks. In the eyes of those outside the monastic walls, they live a solitary life, but they talk to each other. Their life together under the cloak of silence is still permeated with trust due to their need for each other, although as a group, they have somehow detached themselves from the material world.

Dangerous shows such as trapeze and acrobatics for instance, are not possible without the performers trusting each other. Even members of the orchestra and dance groups will not be able to perform their best if they will not trust each other for their complementary support. Stage performers also trust their directors and stage hands to do their best, so that their acts will come out right and appropriately supported with the best props.

Trust, on the other hand, should not be abused to the point, that the trusting party is exploited. Once trust in a person has been eroded due to his exploitive overtures, his crumbled image will be very difficult to reconstruct as the fissures or the flaws will always show. A “paint-over” which means pretensions, perhaps, may help to cover the fine lines, but for how long?

An instance of trust abuse is the case of Mary Jane Veloso. She trusted her recruiter so much that she had no inkling, the small suitcase given to her by the former, contained illegal drug. Now she is languishing in jail after having been spared from execution, although, temporarily. Another case is that of the Filipinos who trusted the officials they voted into office, but later on proved to be inept, some yet, are with bottomless dishonest yearning – corrupt to the highest degree!

Trust should be likened to the fragile crystal. A clear and unscratched crystal that gleams and sparkles under the light, in the same way that a person known for his trustworthy image can standout even in a crowd, no matter what.