Monday, February 18, 2008

The joint houses of lies, arrogance and vanity, aka the Philippine Political Circus

In light of the ongoing saga of the ZTE scandal, six other things are certain besides taxes and death in the Philippines as shown on TV, the 2008 sequel:

    [1] The Filipino elected official dons the hat of arrogance with ease. Thou shalt not put a mirror to his/her face and highlight his/her ignorance, inattentiveness or sinister agenda lest one be minced or be told to short of beg for forgiveness on bended knees.

    [2] The Filipino loves the limelight, bad plots, bad scripts and answering to stupid questions from people who don arrogance, show ignorance, are inattentive and sinister.

    [3] The Filipino loves to bask in the virtual halo of others. Scammers, people with blood on their hands, eavesdroppers, liars think that by being seen in the presence of supposed perceived 'ordinary Pinoys' and those in white robes, that their characters magically turn immaculate just like laundry soap adverts. Also, the Filipino thinks that televised masses attended by the powers that be, former atheists and people involved in shady deals are more powerful and effective than prayers said in private.

    [4] The Filipino forgets—easily. They have forgotten that the religious, lay or church, were exposed by Rizal for their hypocrisy. They have forgotten that to 'salvage' means 'to save' not 'to exterminate.'

    They have forgotten that elected officials never fail to make empty promises, yet get elected precisely because of empty promises. They have forgotten that the Presidential system never gave equal chance to the ordinary citizen to serve in the real and true sense, and that the Philippines has been controlled only by a very few families since gaining independence from the colonizers unless one has submissively cleaned up the dirt and trail left behind by his former boss-appointer, is rewarded accordingly, and subsequently learns to make empty promises. They have forgotten that since Marcos, everyone is stumbling towards 'the light,' camera, action, to ensure victory in the next term or be the next president.

    [5] The Filipino will always be made to choose between two evils: one who speaks in soft voice and invoking 'God' or 'honesty' and goes by Brother, Father, Your Honor or whatever, and one with good sense, ordinary intelligence and simple aspirations.

    [6] The Filipino will always be exploited for their lust for gossip and speculation until gossip and speculation metamorphose into some kind of truth. Ask the media moguls and their overpaid staff, opinionated celebrity news readers and self-absorbed, party-hopping, by-line conscious columnists.

My personal take on this whole issue is that it is hard to look at, taste or swallow the 'truth,' especially if the ones asking for those are themselves liars in the first place. No politician ex-whatever (ex-policeman, ex-lawyer, ex-real estate magnate, ex-activists, ex-teachers, ex-media, ex-millionaires, ex-socialites, actors, soldiers, ad nauseam) is clean and truthful. None. And it goes the same for those who are lured to join the presidential system bandwagon: ex- and current religious, ex- and current lawyer, businessman, teacher, economist, ex-whathaveyou's.

The other thing I can't stand is how one politician—or two?—will appear clean beside the next one no matter what and in spite of the fact that all of them abuse their positions for favors and privileges. Parepareho silang lahat. Otherwise, the CDF should have been banned for real.

Integrity in thought and deed is a way of life without having to threaten anyone at any point in their lives, and 'serving the people' means having to do it without the press releases. Former presidents who should have had the chance to seize the opportunities and goodwill should have been smart enough to not take ill advise running to another embattled, resigned government official, only to be seen yet again next to the accuser of the resigned official. What gives?

That is why I understand that in the rally called for last Friday, 15 February 2008, the politicians —now ex-politicians themselves, along with the active politicians—thought it wise to not be seen on stage lest the people they hoped to convince to join be turned off by their presence making the rally look like the whole exercise is a planned deal. And rightly so. But not before they made sure the cameras found them anyway. Anyhow, I believe the whole exercise is one big messy plan by someone who will never be president —his bloodied hand in the honey pot is too evident.

Yet even the former died-in-the-wool activists are themselves camouflaged among the politicians and, too, walk the walk and have allowed themselves to be used. What a shame. They have even acquired some kind of multiple personality. When they had the chance to supposedly represent the marginalized sectors' interests, they forgot to pursue basic questions that now influence our whole system. Questions as:

    [a] the truth about who killed Sen. Aquino before the convicted foot soldiers became retirees jail;

    [b] the real implementation of land reform—without themselves muddling the issues with their agenda;

    [c] the advancement of true self-reliance among the marginalized sectors;

    [d] not allowing the presidential pardon to happen because they shall, in turn, use the freed criminal for their own purposes as we have seen.

What does one do when one is asked to 'tell the truth' by those who themselves dish out lies, gossip and eventually gain control of another one's life (like having the dirt on 'you' (say, being in possession of the car registration papers of a friend's borrowed car, for example?), or be cited in contempt for talking (or keeping quiet)? Do the 'honorable' senators expect all citizens who they owe their positions to, to bow and follow their arrogant demands no matter how out of line, insulting and demeaning?

Just when is the line drawn between in 'aid of [true] legislation' and forcing dirty linens out in public that are totally out of topic and nothing at all to do with laws? Perhaps all the senators must take the bar together and not presume knowledge of the law simply because they sit across the table, are awarded committee chairmanships (and additional take-home pay for each committee they chair), and cameras zooming in to their faces. Really, since when did the Senate become the state judge and police?

Truly, power is intoxicating. Imagine, to cite a lawyer in contempt without having to go through law school, or wagging a finger at an invited resource person just because the answer may not agree with their questions. Such air heads they are, those who abuse their positions, special privileges, and power to cover up for their real lack of understanding and intelligence. Any school flunk, socialite or actor who learns the tricks of the political trade can cite anyone in contempt or cut one's career in this country.

No person of position am I, not a president of some corporation, no guards to protect me, no maids or chiefs of staff or runners, not even do I possess a credit card to spend elsewhere, not a passport to use when this country collapses, no ready cash on hand to spend for some stupid TV airtime.

I honestly do not expect any of the 12 senators of the Philippines to even advance true democracy as each one—from the past, in this administration (across all political parties and so-called independents) and those who will fill their shoes in the future—won't ever let down their guard. It will always be patronage and proteg├ęs that will go down our lifetimes because it suits the politicians and political families just fine.

Damn the ordinary people who fear for their lives and equally fear to face the inanities of the 12 Clowns of the country, lest they be told to cut 'the act' for good. I fear for the witness just as I fear for the future of my country because we are all, at the end of the politician's day, tools of their trade. And the Filipino shall remain the faceless and nameless votes that put them in office.

As someone said 'I hate politics!'*...not.

( * Funny, this link came up when I was looking for the attribution.)


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