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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fighting Corruption Alone Is Not Greatness Per Se

Razor’s Edge
By Jose Mari Mercader

Many Filipinos are excited, and to a certain extent, rightly so, over the seeming determination of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to eradicate venalities in the government. Another plus to his image Aquino cheer leaders are euphoric about, is his campaign against the use of car sirens public officials abuse, to ego-trip. Still, both moves do not make him a demigod in Mount Olympus, metaphorically speaking.

These moves do not prove anything. He has to lock behind bars a great majority of crooks in the government before it can be said he is great; but definitely not the greatest president as sycophants want people to believe. Besides, it’s too early in the day for that outlandish claim. P-Noy is only in his second year to make such a ludicrous claim, which is utter nonsense!

Filing cases against corrupt officials could be theatrics to gain acceptance. The bottom line is to scoop as many convictions as possible. Convictions prove the cases are not just to harass political enemies but to serve the ends of justice. With the help of a docile Secretary of Justice and a sprinkling of justices beholden to PNoy or his late mother, former Pres. Cory Aquino, anybody can emerge from a mirage larger than life. His own mother who struck the world with awe for overthrowing the late dictator in the elections of 1986 failed to curtail venalities in her administration because she did not have dedicated prosecutors.

Success is concrete. Grandstanding is shallow. If, at the end of the day, after his term, he put myriads of rotten bureaucrats and cronies of previous presidents behind bars with long sentences, then he earned the feather in his cap as leader par excellence. Short of that everything is wishful thinking.

If he is really uncompromising to jail corrupt officials, why does he not file cases against former Tourism Secretary Jose Antonio Gonzales who sold our PAL building in Stockton California, when he was chairman of our flagship (Philippine Airlines) during Cory’s presidency?

The transaction was fraught with anomalous aspects: it was done without bidding six months after Cory yanked out Dictator Marcos when there was no evident urgency to dispose said building for the ridiculous price of $10 million. It was said the buyer turned around and sold it for $52 million soon after, according to rumors. Adding insult to injury, at 87 Gonzales is filthy rich chasing women like a love-struck overheating dog.

Thus, to say that on the basis of cases filed against the cabal of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s officials and family members, and having ordered the silencing of creaming wang-wangs announcing the passing of VIPs (very important pigs), does not make Noynoy our greatest president. That would be puking exaggeration of our appreciation for something which is part of his official duties.

It comes as no surprise that some people are said to be plotting to downgrade his administration. This could be the offshoot of the hype that he is the greatest president we ever had, when nothing could be farthest from the truth.

For him to rest now because he already “fought” corruption, then he has trivialized the presidential office that is laden with responsibilities. If anything, PNoy is only complying with his campaign promises. Otherwise he can become instant lightning rod of criticisms that he is a rabble-rousing yo-yo buttering voters during elections making outlandish promises with no intention of fulfilling, a charlatan, dumb dodo, numbskull, carpetbagger, etc.

There are vital issues begging to be addressed to make the country move forward. Freezing them as mediocre presidents did in the past is recycling the obscene inaction that kept these chores inert for decades to the chagrin of our suffering people.

One thing is to be grateful another is pulling down the eyelids of citizens to deceive them about P-Noy’s phantom accomplishments. The colossal budget for the president’s office does not limit his performance to the anti-wang-wang decree and corruption to its minimum, and already he is great. Assuming he manages to cut down shenanigans and anomalies in the administration, he would only be doing his duty as commander-in-chief. The question is for how long?!

Unarguably, the initiative taken by the President is commendable nevertheless it would be erroneous to limit his duties to just a couple of sights in the government’s radar. He has to cover more grounds and changes before he is done in Malacanang. Instituting social justice where people are truly equal with the super rich in society, and restore peace and order to make Filipinos live in peace and tranquility are issues as important as fighting corruption in the government, which has been the mantra of those asking for reforms since Cory’s time.

Improving the economy is extremely important considering that it will diminish if not halt the Diaspora of Filipinos abroad. The government should initiate incentives to make them stay in the country and be more productive living with their families. Presidential attention on this matter is indispensable instead of exposing our fellow citizens to mutilation and being beaten to a pulp in Middle East countries on capricious and or fabricated charges.

Overseas Filipinos workers (OFW) risk life and limbs abroad because of maladministration in the homeland. Their accursed life is impacted on them by politicians who do nothing but enrich in office. That’s how depraved crooks in the government are. And they have the gall to call themselves leaders of the country.

Immodesty aside, if there is anyone who salutes the president for fighting corruption that would be me. I consistently fought corruption in the government openly in the streets and on radio. Thereafter, against the corrupt governance of leaders that included PNoy’s mother, former President Cory Aquino, all the way to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after thrashing the presidencies of Fidel V. Ramos and Erap. But I am not far gone by saying that Noynoy, who spearheads the battle against corrupt officials, is the greatest president we ever had. He has to sustain the onslaught against venalities without fear or favor, i.e. send to jail friends and foes alike along with erring relatives working in the government.

Sad to say he has every semblance of his mother’s lamentable vindictiveness and utang na loob mania that corrodes good governance. A president cannot be impartial if he is demonized by demeaning penchants.

Never say a man is great before he is dead lest we bite our tongue later because the imponderable can still happen. He can yet fall from the lofty regard of our people as has happened time and again to heroes who turned scoundrels later in the day. This makes me detest the rushing accolade that P-Noy is the greatest president we ever had mainly because cases of corruption against Arroyo officials and cronies are being filed in court nowadays. By any account this is no measure of a president’s greatness.

For one thing he still has to face the challenge of what percentage will the convictions be in contrast to the cases thrown out of the window for lack of merit or anchored on vengeance. Filing a case of corruption just to grandstand does not mean success. A president’s motive has to be distilled if it is earnest in intention and not a drama to hoodwink the people.

Noy, go after the grafters of previous administrations whose lifestyle as oriental potentates rub salt and vinegar on the open wounds of our poverty-stricken people. Only callous politicians have that heartlessness and unmitigated chutzpah.

Congress is full of these crocodiles. Many of them are local executives untouched by law because they have the power and money. Letting them get away with their crime defeats your “crusade” against corruption.

You have only one term of six years, spare nobody who violates the law regardless of his proximity to you by blood or politically. Make your move now. Compartmentalize justice is utterly detestable!

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