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Where are we today?

opinion / Columnists
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Glimpses

Where are we today?

In the turbulence of a politics upset by whistleblowers, of a country beset by typhoons and earthquakes, truth is both an objective and a victim. After all, it is not truth that is on trial, but Filipinos who have to get at the truth now muddled by the agenda of those afraid for the truth to surface. It is not only our honesty and integrity that is being tested, but also our intelligence to know truth from lie.

When the first, and key, whistleblower was rescued by the NBI and started to talk, he must have known that telling the sordid story of greed and plunder was his only way to save himself. He was a major player in the web of corruption that included senators and congressmen, Cabinet members and heads of agencies, COA auditors and DBM officers. Only from the inside, and only from high up inside, could a truckload of details be available.

The stories then grow, like multi-level marketing, because the personalities are connected to other personalities. The stories also grow because the more aggressive, and expert, media outlets and personalities go out to get more of the truth exposed. At this time, one can really say that the current issues involving the 10-billion scam, the PDAF and DAP, the Malampaya Fund, and the pork barrel have a life of their own.

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There are various agenda at work aside from possibly the only pure one – that which was accidental or providential. There are those who definitely want to confuse the public because their own necks are at stake. They are those individuals whom the truckload of evidence will most probably convict. There are those who know that the evidence will soon point to them because they know what they did, what they received in return for what they did. Their necks will soon be on the line, too.

What few realize is that a macro view will point to three former presidents and/or members of their families are intimately involved with the most pressing issues – the 10-billion scam and diverted PDAF.  Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo – the first two already named by Transparency International’s 2007 list of the World’s Most Corrupt Leaders as Number 2 and Number 10 respectively, and Gloria Arroyo with a good chance to overtake both. If we are to go by the estimates of their stolen wealth, we are talking about tens of billions of dollars.

With tens of billions of dollars to protect, then there are billions of dollars that can be spent to turn the issues towards other directions, towards other personalities. Some of that money is already feeding mercenaries in both traditional and social media. And because they had a clear objective, because they have clear targets, the consistency of the confusion they sow and the attacks they manufacture will surely influence the emotions to go against objectivity, to convince many about guilt where there is none.

Of all, it is P-Npy who is most responsible for making all these initiatives for truth and transparency become possible. Ironic but understandable that he is also the main target of information assassination. Beyond that, his security group also realizes he is the main target of physical assassination as well. If not for P-Noy, if not for a President who wanted to ferret out the truth from Day One of his administration, does anyone really believe that the current controversy of all kinds of revelations about the 10-billion scam, the PDAF, the Malampaya Fund, and the pork barrel could have found an open environment and encouragement?

Remember, P-Noy wanted the Truth Commission from the beginning. Had the Supreme Court of Rene Corona not disallowed it, the Napoles controversy and many more could have been triggered much earlier. But the very reason why P-Noy believed that Corona should not lead the Supreme Court was because Corona was a midnight appointment forced on the people by an outgoing president who knew she would face prosecution. Rene Corona was impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate, but not yet punished by the Republic. Even he has reason to fear from a wave of transparency and exposure.

I saw a newspaper item that said corruption lingers in the P-Noy administration. Linger – ha! It remains embedded because it was that deep and could have gone deeper without P-Noy. What has developed to be a political sub-culture for decades cannot be erased in three years, especially when P-Noy has political allies who themselves may be tainted as well. However, we have a democracy that asks for the Executive to relate with the Legislature and the Judiciary, if possible with cooperation and harmony.

I agree with some who think that corruption can be weeded out forcibly, suddenly, through a determined dictatorship. I wonder if this is what people want. His ratings may have lowered a little, but he still enjoys a 68% approval, making him the most likely choice of a one-man rule should that be the people’s preference. I would love to see this happen, and I feel confident that many thieves will be hauled to prison. But I know, too, the impossibility of this speculation because P-Noy himself would not play along. He does not even want an extended term unlike three presidents before him.

If we choose democracy, then we accept the ways of democracy. There will be many allegations and accusations but only the law can convict and punish. Meanwhile, we might as well console ourselves that the PDAF, if the 2014 amount had been approved, is only 1.1% of the national budget. Also, not all, not even the majority of the PDAF, had been stolen through ghost projects.

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We can also console ourselves that the DAP comes from savings of operating agencies, and that is an accomplishment. More so, these savings are converted to become new projects and programs, pump-priming an economy and giving benefits to the people – as long as the funds were not stolen. And the Malampaya Fund is continuously replenished by oil and gas from the sea.

Most important of all, we the people have begun to believe that corruption can be defeated – by our being vigilant, by our pressuring our officials, by our being intolerant to wrongdoing. In the end, we have the final say.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos, Filipinos, Gloria Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, intelligence, Joseph Estrada, Malampaya Fund, National Bureau of Investigation, NBI, PDAF, whistleblowers
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