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Friday, September 5, 2014
IT WAS a distasteful sight. Fifty-four grown men and women, elected representatives of the people, groveling and salivating, clambering on top of each other shouting Mr. Chair! Mr. Chair just so they could chime in to defend pork and their patron, the President. It could very well be a pigsty come feeding time, with each trying to out-snort the other so that he could get the choicest and largest share of the political reward that is sure to follow from their patrons in Malacañang.
I can still hear their grating voices, their large noses that almost fill up the whole TV screen, and their sinister grins and laughter while back-slapping their cohorts in what was ultimately a bullying session of those on the take.
It is one thing to have an understanding of the workings of political patronage in our country, but it is another thing to witness how low our dishonorable congressmen could get just to defend a system that ultimately preserves their hold on power at the expense of much needed political reform.
There is a need to remind everyone that the Napoles scandal that riled us all and the just junked impeachment raps are both part of a singular narrative that we, the people, have taken on against corruption. It was a promising moment when we, despite the deep entrenchment of such a system, stood up against the symptom that was Napoles in order to create our own straight and narrow path against corruption even if this road will lead us to the current occupant in Malacañang.
The revelation that this present administration was equally abusive of public funds through the DAP by no less than the Supreme Court showed us that this President was indeed no different from the previous administrations. If the use of public funds to keep oneself and political allies in power is not corruption, then it might be the case that these people who employ this defense and were assembled in the justice committee hearing to kill the impeachment complaint are in a warped moral universe. In this setting, feudal lords are king and can do whatever they want.
We have always lamented the system that puts in place bad leaders. And we are quick to blame the voting poor for selling their votes to these crooks using the people’s money. And yet we fail to see the systematic connection between the brazenness of Napoles in siphoning public funds for her and her political patrons’ gain and the DAP in the billions of pesos which was distributed as political largesse in the guise of pump-priming the economy.
Equally maddening was the treasonous stance of these same elected representatives of the people when it was revealed through the impeachment complaint that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA with the US that the President entered into by mere executive order practically transforms all the 7,107 islands of our nation into a virtual US garrison.
More than 50 years after independence, we are still a nation run by so-called leaders who are quick to sacrifice the national interest for the sake of a misplaced loyalty to an absentee imperialist landlord that is the US. We have politicians who have no appreciation for our troubled history with our neo-colonial master, a narrative awash in blood spilled by our brave countrymen for the lofty ideal of self-rule and sovereignty. Sadly, more than a hundred years since Bonifacio, these ideals are yet to be achieved because we have traitors masquerading as congressmen among our ranks.
The expeditious manner of the quashing of the three impeachment complaints is a show of force alright. It is a measure of the kind of mercenary political loyalty that billions of government funds can buy. The incident also presents a yardstick as to what depths our political elite are willing to descend to just so their happy days in the pigsty of corruption can continue unhampered.
What name can we ascribe to this state of affairs? The infamous event in Congress has come to pass as the perfect manifestation of the ills of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and feudalism that persists in plaguing this nation.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 05, 2014.