CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/27 June) — It’s preposterous the way our officials and the bureaucracy they control continue to misbehave; and ridiculous that traditional politicians—trapos!—carry on with their corrupt ways despite expose` after expose` of dishonesty, thievery, and scandal that should tell them their game is up.
Every expose` gives away their perfidy and betrayal of our society, especially of the poor and disadvantaged whom they sink deeper in poverty and want.
But nothing seems to deter or shame them. No fear of punishment, no fear of the Lord inhibits their wrongdoing. They are a stain on the honor of our nation, an embarrassment to our republic.
Ultimately, their crimes reveal the bankruptcy of their character, the flaw in their upbringing, and the futility of their education. They are bereft of conscience, sense of duty, and social responsibility.
On the other hand—and this goes without saying–there would have been no plunder of the national treasury via the pork barrel if the trapos listed by Janet Lim-Napoles et al had not been elected by many misguided voters.
It is sad to ponder that in our society there are 10 million or more voters who would elevate a plunderer or would-be plunderer to the pedestal of power and privilege. They not only elevate dubious showbiz characters but greedy trapos on whom they bestow the highest degree of confidence and trust society can gift them.
Consequently, public trust in hand, these flawed officials get to tinker with state affairs, play at governance, and at the same time indulge in the political game of monopoly.
Thinking themselves safely ensconced and secure, hubris causes them to manipulate and steal from the enormous public funds under their stewardship.
Until Janet Lim-Napoles was escorted into Malacañang, then incarcerated, very few Filipinos knew what mischief had been eating away at the moral fiber of top-level bureaucrats.
Janet, or rather Ben Hur Luy, who revealed her shenanigans and his own role in the scam, served to strip away the veil of public innocence about such heinous happenings.
Before that, only a very few had any inkling of how the prospect of more power, more wealth, and more privilege can drive the already powerful, already wealthy, and already privileged to aggrandize even more by committing the ultimate betrayal: of their conscience, their oath of office, and their very integrity.
Who would have thought that “honorable” senators, congressmen, and cabinet members can go into a tailspin of mayhem and plunder!
It takes daring and reckless effrontery to commit high treason, grand larceny, or in-your-face betrayal of public trust.
Surely they knew what they were doing; but they recklessly gambled in hopes of greater winnings. Gambling is said to raise one’s adrenaline level, and the higher it goes, the greater the pay-off. Succumbing to the promise of great rewards makes them forget how great the fall awaits the scoundrel who is found out.
Can we expect such felons to apologize and make retribution to society for the countless infants they deprived of nutrition and health? How will they explain their selfish indulgence to parents wasting away because the government no longer has the billions needed for their food, care, and shelter?
The ascent to power of such trapos should weigh heavily upon the conscience of voters who campaigned, supported, or financed their campaigns. Those who voted for them in good faith should feel disgusted.
Unfortunately nothing can compensate for the moral, political, and physical damage they cause and continue to cause inflict upon our society and republic.
Given this ugly reality that now hovers over us like dark clouds, how now can we be comfortable with our officials?
Consider: the newcomers to the Senate from the last elections made it at the cost of not less but more than P50 MILLION PESOS EACH for their campaign expenses!
How did any voter think they would recover such humongous expense or recoup their investment without the expectation of much more in earnings—from pork and other creative ways of milking the cow that is the Philippine Government?
Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, South East Asian Publishers Association; director, development academy of the Philippines; member, Phil. Permanent Mission to the United Nations; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Government’s Peace Negotiating Panel; and winner, PPI-UNICEF award for outstanding columnist. [email protected]