• A continuous string of ethical and moral failures

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    ON Saturday, Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon delivered what may be the funniest line ever uttered by President BS Aquino 3rd’s overstaffed propaganda bureau.

    Addressing the topic of the RCBC money-laundering scandal, Quezon said, “On the whole, you can see that the system is working.”

    What, exactly, is “working” in a scandal that has seen $81 million of another government’s money vanish into thin air by way of our banking system and casino industry, has put together the words “Philippines” and “money-laundering” in headlines all around the world for more than a week, and for which proper investigation has been rendered impossible by a bunch of senators figuratively trampling all over the crime scene with yet another tiresome hearing “in aid of legislation?”

    As it has for the past six years, the government has responded to the RCBC mess like a teenager who has just wrecked his father’s car, but insists it’s not as bad as it looks because the radio still works.

    Every government in this country’s history has had its scandals – it is a consequence of our rowdy, combative nature when it comes to politics – but there has been no government, not even during the darkest days of the Japanese occupation or the martial law era, that has had such a continuous string of ethical and moral failures, and has so poisoned the civic culture of our people as that of the feckless son of the Philippines’ putative ‘icons of democracy.’

    From his very first weeks in office, when some of his close advisors were caught in misdeeds that should be beneath the dignity of officials of a national government – and when one of his own first acts was to purchase, under highly questionable circumstances, a Porsche sports car – Aquino has seemed determined to demonstrate that his government would represent the polar opposite of everything his endlessly-repeated blandishments about the “straight path” might be contrived to mean.

    The list of the most damaging blunders goes on: standing idly by while tourists were massacred in Luneta Park; deporting Taiwanese suspects to China (and as a further affront to our nearest neighbor, responding with arrogance to Taiwan’s outrage at having a crew of one of its fishing boats gunned down by the Philippine Coast Guard); the breathtaking swindle of the ‘disbursement acceleration program;’ making secret deals with a sworn enemy of the Republic in a Tokyo hotel room; the appalling incompetence and insensitivity displayed in the mishandling of the Zamboanga, Typhoon Yolanda and Mamasapano tragedies; twisting the law the rare times he couldn’t ignore it entirely in pursuit of his political ‘enemies.’

    No large population can live so long under such leadership without its culture being tainted, and it shows: Drug and violent crimes are out of control in some parts of the country, smuggling has ballooned into one of the country’s biggest businesses, and all around us, systems that in other places are ordinary, unremarkable trappings of a civilized society – trains that function reasonably well, agencies that are able to provide driver’s license cards or passports that don’t fall apart, airports that don’t oblige travelers to encase their luggage in packing tape to ensure it isn’t tampered with – are completely falling apart. It is little wonder, then, that a scandal of the magnitude of the RCBC money-laundering case would find fertile ground here.

    Yes, Mr. Quezon, we can indeed see that “the system is working,” and that is precisely the problem. It is the system your boss has created, and if we cannot find a leader who can make at least a little progress in undoing it, we fear this country may not long survive.

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    12 Comments

    1. Josemakabayan on

      As usual the Big Fish will escape to enjoy their commissions the small fry will burn, only in the Philippines!!!!!

    2. Knee-jerk reactions and hyperbole seem to be our usual response to a crisis. Well, this is not truly a crisis, and some people seem to want to make a mountain out of this. First of all, the heist was not perpetrated by Filipinos. From reports coming from the FBI and from Bangladesh, it was an inside job within the Bangladesh Central Bank. Therefore, the heist was most likely perpetrated by Bangladeshis themselves. Where the Philippines enters the scene is in disposing and laundering the stolen funds. Before coming to the Philippines, the funds went through U.S. banks and the SWIFT system. So it is not only Philippine banks who had been remiss. The principal actors in receiving the funds here and in the money-laundering efforts, aside from Maia Deguito, seem to be Weikang Xu and Kim Wong who are Chinese and Taiwanese nationals. Yes, it would help if measures were taken to prevent incidents like this from happening again. But it is wrong to hammer the Philippine banking system or to even insinuate that this could affect the country’s credit standing. Credit standing has no bearing on this isssue.

      • Leo B. Durano on

        God’s Ten Commandments. Good manners & right conduct. Values Education. By whatever, our people are without scruples. We are very trustworthy & reliable outside the PHL but not within.

    3. RONNIE A. DULAY on

      Addressing the topic of the RCBC money-laundering scandal, Quezon said, “On the whole, you can see that the system is working.”

      Hmmmm…It’s like saying “The Air Bag System on this vehicle works” after the passenger has been pinned and died suffocating on the air bags :=)

    4. Ginagampanan ni Ms Quezon ang literal na kahulugan ng NAKATUWAD NA DAAN para ang mga molester– sa tango ng AMLC — ay pagsamantalahan ang sistemang hungkag na pinamumunoan ng mga tiwaling punong-abala. Ang representante ng AMLC sa hearing sa senado ay tila kakampi pa ng mga big fish ng RCBC at mga valued clients aka scammers. Ang mga senadores naman ay sinasamantala ang libreng live TV coverage para sa kanilang kampanya sa darating na election. Tulad ng mga nakaraang hearing ito’y aksaya lamang ng salapi ng bansa. Walang kabuluhan at kahihinatnang maayos ang public hearing na ito. Ang NBI sa cooperation sa FBI at ibang international law enforcement agencies and dapat magsagawa ng pusposang investigation.

    5. matino na pinoy on

      If the bank owner held or froze the $81 Million account indefinitely for further investigation purposes, it should still be there under the control of the bank and it would have not disappeared under the thin air. In the Philippines, big people that own big businesses that may be involved in big time crimes are untouchables because they are well politically connected. Most elected officials and politically appointed officials occupying offices in high places have lost their integrity and moral values, in exchange of the mighty money.

      • I 100 per cent agree. If the funds were frozen, how in the world can it disappear ? That is the reason Deguito is the mastermind and the rest of Jupiter Br. are accessory to the crime. The branch received the payment stop order by one of the officer of the branch in that particular Tuesday morning and he did not stop the transaction. He still is the one that loaded the 10 million in Deguito car. Even if the Chinese were able to hack the system, that is only 5 percent of the heist. The biggest problem is to take out the money and distribute it in thin air. I cannot understand Deguito dealing straight with the Chinese mafia. She must be out of her mind. Her safety and the safety of her family is at stake. She lost, Chinese won. Philippines reputation went to the gutters.

    6. Whoever is the one posting this destructive criticism comment, may it be the editor of this news agency or some out of work crony of the previous administration. You should have file for a COC at the Comelec and try to run for president of this very difficult to govern country and have a taste of the pressure or difficulty in trying to get all the Filipinos to sit down and sing “kumbanwa”. Get a life, man. If you have to criticize be a constructive criticizer. I presume you are a Filipino and you would want to see us unite as one. Thank you..

    7. Leodegardo Pruna on

      This spokesperson of the administration speaks the same language as his boss and in doing so is dragging us to a deep pit. What a waste of name and fame. God save the Philippines.