Glory and sorrow in 2019
At this time, people make a special effort to meditate on what went wrong and what went right during the year, praying that the mistakes will not be repeated, and that the rights will be multiplied. My end-of-year assessment last year titled “Glory and shame in 2018” was done from the perspective of Inang Bayan: the events that brought glory and honor to her, and the events that put her to shame.
Let us repeat the exercise this year, and as I did last year, I invite you, Reader, to add or subtract.
What events brought glory and hope?
1) Surely among the most glorious occurrences was the defeat of many dynasties (partial or total), in areas large and small, in the last elections—such as the Estradas (Manila, San Juan), the Demaalas (Narra, Palawan), Eusebios (Pasig), Binays (Makati congressional race), Codillas (Leyte), Duranos (Cebu), Osmeñas (Cebu), Ecleos (Dinagat Islands), the Magsaysays (Zambales).
The fight is not over, not by a long shot, but the great message of hope, and at the local level where governance is the primary issue, is that it can be done even without the law against dynasties that should have been passed by Congress since 1987. We are doing it the hard way. But the people who voted them out of office should be congratulated, and emulated
2) Then there is the mighty blow struck against poverty, wherein 5.9 million individuals, or 1.1 million families, were lifted out of poverty between 2015 and 2018. A great victory. We still don’t know how many of these are urban, and how many are rural, but the President in the Philippine Development Plan vowed to bring the incidence of rural poverty down from 30 percent to 20 percent, and we won’t know, until the figures are released, whether he is succeeding.
3) The third glorious event was the Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes decision on the Maguindanao Massacre. It may have taken 10 years, but considering that the late Sen. Joker Arroyo opined that the trial could have taken as long as 200 years, this is still very good. What was amazing about Judge Solis-Reyes was how she could cut through all the bullshit and focus on the main issues, which is not what some of our Sandiganbayan justices can do (which comes later on in this column).
4) Our Inang Bayan is glorying also in the youth of our country who have proven themselves in international competitions, sports and academic, held here and abroad. More importantly, the youth of the University of the Philippines (in the cheating cases) have shown that their moral fiber is stronger than some of their elders’. They have condemned the cheaters—their schoolmates—and have also condemned the UP administration for attempting to let the cheaters go.
What about the events in 2019 that have brought sorrow and shame to Inang Bayan?
1) Topping my list is the recent Sandiganbayan 4th Division decision, penned by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz, dismissing the 32-year-old civil case against the Marcoses involving around P200 billion. His reason? “absent sufficient evidence that may lead to the conclusion that the subject properties were indeed ill-gotten wealth by the Marcoses, the Court cannot simply order the return of the same to the national treasury.”
My goodness. The law (Republic Act No. 1379) states: “Whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired.” And the Supreme Court has already estimated the Marcos couple’s income (as president and governor of Metro Manila) from 1966-1986 to be around P2.3 million. See the discrepancy?
To be fair, his colleague, Associate Justice Maryann Corpus Mañalac, disagreed with him. But how can anyone be so stupid? That’s why Inang Bayan is probably crying her heart out. And of course, she is also crying over the incompetence of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, as pointed out by Mañalac.
2) More cause for shame is the continued detention and persecution of Sen. Leila de Lima. But that rates another column, all by itself.
Happy New Year! Let’s all resolve to do better in 2020.
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