CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/03 August)–The view of our politics and politicians from the bottom is not nice, to say the least. Yet there are many more so-called advocacy groups in our society that claim to be dedicated to reforms, including the faith-based, than the 42,000+ communities or barangays that make up our republic. And there’s a huge government bureaucracy that purports to do good and uphold the eternal verities reflected in our Constitution and laws.
What more do we and our neighbors need in order to learn, to be chastened by, and thus to eschew the habit of keeping trapos—traditional politicians—in office? It’s not nice for our social-political development to be bombarded non-stop with scandals and revelations of corruption resulting from trapo dominance. It’s obscene to be lorded over by the same venal faces or governed by the same incompetents and corruptors.
Consider what has been happening ever since the Gang Nam frivolity that attended senate profligacy under erstwhile Martial Law Administrator Juan Ponce Enrile, followed by his cavalier handling of the people’s money, giving millions away as personal gifts at Christmas.
Then as if the triumph of trapos and dynasties in the May elections was not terrible enough, today we have horror stories about pork barrel looting made possible by top-level connivance, starring senators and congressmen no less! And not to be outdone, the President rounds out the Dorian Gray Portrait by giving away more instead of less Pork in next year’s national budget. Happy days, and nights, continue for them that are in power while the rest who are not in power are left to simply grin and bear it.
With such a culture of corruption and impunity raging at full throttle in the corridors of power, how can anyone speak of reform, let alone wave the banner of a pretentious slogan like matuwid na daan?
But of course, we are all partly to blame. We put them there! We did so, and continue to do so, and we let our neighbors elect them. And it’s all because of our wishy-washy attitude towards politics and politicos.
In the senate we now have two pairs of pork-addicted siblings—the Cayetanos and Ejercito/Estradas—each pair with P 400 million to play around with every year. There’s the Binay father-daughter pair, similarly provisioned for political mayhem, with another in the House—where the list of dynastic tandems and teams pigging out on pork is too long to mention. They are all products of our votes and those of our neighbors’. By the end of their terms, they will have amassed or given away billions in cash or assets that none of us ever will be heir to.
Instead of learning from experience or from the records of these trapos, we worsen things by allowing the bigger trapos to give them more money and greater leeway for sinning, for plundering, for indulging.
What’s with us Filipinos? We seem incapable of learning from experience. We make a mockery of our ideals—as religious devotees, as democracy-adherents, and as a nation with a fairly high educational attainment. What will it take to reform our ways? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa is the president and national convenor of Gising Barangay Movement Inc. He can be reached at [email protected])