CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 25 Aug) – How sad, how saddening, to contemplate the turn of events in our society… thievery, opportunism… betrayal of public trust… high officials indulging in shameless corruption, flawed offspring they let loose in our society seeding the next generation.
Behold an actor-senator with spouse in congress, their offspring in league and partnership with offspring of scammer into business deals of their own. With reckless impunity they erode faith in public servants, confidence in government, and respect for public institutions.
Goodwill that should inhere in a community of sovereign citizens is breached… the well is poisoned!
Janet Napoles we can understand… sapagkat siya’y tao lamang (?!)
But how about husband James Napoles, reputed to be a Marine Corps official. An Officer and a Gentleman? Did he abet, does he condone, his wife’s conspiracy—betraying honor, integrity in the process?
Is honesty integral to the duty of an officer and a gentleman? Can we still entrust him with honor, integrity, or life itself?
Janet, Ping: what’s the difference?
Janet Lim-Napoles is now in hiding. So was Panfilo Lacson in hiding—for a whole year while still an incumbent senator! Lawmaker, Police General, Former chief law enforcer no less: he defied and flouted the law and got away with it. What did he get? Not a reprimand nor a reproach from any authority, executive, legislative, or judicial.
To the society he swore to serve and protect—which in turn bestowed him generous honor, perks and livelihood—Lacson offered no apology nor a gesture of goodwill, nor even remorse.
Now PNoy is thinking of him as his pork-related crime buster. Can he be trusted? Will he find Janet and deliver her to justice? How do we know he won’t help her hide from the law instead—just like he did, and more effectively? People are skeptical. The effect of broken trust.
Are military/security forces our allies and protectors?
How do military families of our society view these goings-on? How do they deal with the stain of wayward generals that belittle instead of uphold the law, which they swear to do at the cost of their lives if necessary?
Where’s Jovito Palparan? Is he doing a Panfilo Lacson? Does the military brotherhood tolerate scofflaws, allowing the recalcitrant to hide and bide until the threat of arrest expires?
There’s Carlos Garcia, in jail for plunder and theft of AFP funds, but expecting special consideration to indulge in a new hobby in a preferred prison location. There’s Jacinto Ligot after him. How have they managed to turn plunderer from protector of the nation that the Constitution meant them to be? Why have they become despoilers of our common wealth and perverters of our values and ideals.
We need to trust the brotherhood of the military and defense and security establishments. They’re supposed to be our protectors. But do their comrades-at-arms feel offended or betrayed when they act otherwise? They should help us apprehend malefactors and miscreants and bring them to justice. They should help restore our trust and confidence in a role that was meant to be heroic.
Betrayal is a terrible thing to recover from. It is dispiriting. It wounds society and culture. It requires redress.
Lifestyle-checks are in order
As distasteful as it may sound, a lifestyle check among congress-persons is in order. Too many have violated the code of honor. Too many have made light of their duty. They have cracked the mold; it now needs fixing. A cleansing is needed and it must start with them and the culture of impunity they thoughtlessly helped to bring about.
Check them out. Charge the guilty. Exonerate the innocent. Penalize impunity. And impeach the undesirable. Then we can start anew.
Unless this is done, the Pork scandal and the wound it has inflicted will not heal. It has already cost our society considerable loss of self-respect and of things that make it worth sacrificing and dying in service of fellow Filipino.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa writes from Cagayan de Oro and is the president and national convenor of Gising Barangay Movement Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)