CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/1 November)—Charade is a game in which something is said or done in order to pretend that something is true when it’s really not true. It seems at times to be the favorite game of PNoy’s administration.
Remember when general agitation over pork was mounting? He sought to calm the waters by saying there’s really nothing wrong with it, that in fact he made good use of his pork or PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) when he was in congress.
But the agitation wouldn’t die down and, in fact, threatened to boil over all the more as dissenting voices became more strident. Forewarned and alarmed, he took to the podium and announced that, yes, the pork barrel will be let go.
Already on the way to Luneta for the Million People March at the time, everybody heaved half a sigh of relief… but the unexpressed half of the sigh never got heaved as revelations soon surfaced that he had already submitted to Congress his proposed budget for next year in which his own pork loomed larger than ever.
It’s infuriating to have one’s president play charade with governance. Another wave of protests welled up and PNoy lay low on the topic when he saw public attention shift to the plunder cases against Tanda, Pogi, and Sexy.
But stung by the charge, Jinggoy (Sexy) sought to defuse the issue by striking back with an expose` during a privileged speech in which he charged PNoy with bribing senators and congressmen ranging from P50 million to P100 million to declare impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty.
Sexy named the source of the fund used to bribe the Senate and House porkies: Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a variation of pork that no one knew existed.
Soon even Budget Secretary Butch Abad has to admit that fully P137.3 billion had already been released as part of DAP. Naturally, DAP drew fire and quickly hugged the front pages, putting PNoy and his apologists on the defensive for augmenting already onerous pork allowances for lawmakers.
Today, the imbroglio continues to hound PNoy and preoccupy an aroused civil society. An ‘imbroglio’ is defined as an involved and confusing situation. Which is exactly the object of people who play charade.
Nothing Untoward About Corruption or Lawbreakers
The charade goes on. Monday this week, it centered on barangay elections, the sacred rite of sovereignty and the solemn rubric of our so-called democracy.
After the record vote-buying and selling and trashing of Section 38 of the Omnibus Election Code by barangay officials and citizens alike over the two-week campaign period, the Commission on Elections announced at the end of Election Day that the polls were a success “with no untoward incidents.”
To the Comelec, general defiance, disregard, disrespect, and in-your-face violations of election laws are not untoward incidents.
So we now find our democracy at an awkward juncture where our Big Philippine Republic’s legitimacy is anchored on what may well be illegitimate governments at its base.
How many of the 42,028 small barangay republics today can claim to have an honestly-elected, duly-constituted government?
The other day, Wednesday, the charade shifted to insurgents. The NPA struck again, in broad daylight, in a town just a short drive southeast of Cagayan de Oro.
They destroyed one of the region’s largest hog and poultry farm in Libona, Bukidnon, burning, trashing facilities, hacking 500 prize pigs, spreading alarm, and withdrew after making off with assorted arms seized from company guards. A marauding band of fully-armed communist guerillas, 150 in all, they came, they slew, they hacked, they slashed hapless livestock, and destroyed farm structures.
The mayor and the army spokesman announced that no one was hurt.
To the mayor and the army, laying waste to millions worth of assets, shattering the peace and livelihood of simple folk, and traumatizing a terrorized community are not hurtful.
Like rampant gambling and weather tantrums, election cheating and deadly raids aren’t novelties anymore. No one is surprised or alarmed that it occurs.
This is bad. Very bad. We are being assured that corruption, brigandage, and plunder are normal phenomenon like bad weather. Should we just grin and bear it as it occurs? No way, Jose! (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.)