• Affected

    Mabel P. Villarica-Mamba

    Mabel P. Villarica-Mamba

    Watching CNN featuring the unrest currently happening in Egypt is not a happy sight. It seemed only recently when there was an uprising in Egypt albeit a relatively peaceful one, followed by what is touted as the first democratically-held election in the country that led to the presidency of Mohamed Morsi.

    I am not familiar with how Morsi led his country except that he previously issued a presidential decree according him supreme powers that bypassed both the legislature and the judiciary. He later annulled it but it seems it didn’t stop the opposition, most especially those belonging to his predecessor Mubarak’s group, and his other critics from planning his eventual ouster.

    Hundreds have already died during what is dubbed as the “Friday Rage Bloody Turmoil” and hundreds more are stuck at the Fateh Mosque. It is difficult not to get affected.

    We may speak a different language, belong to a different religion, are not connected at all by history, culture and traditions, but what is happening there is an attack against humanity.

    On August 21, we will commemorate the 30th death anniversary of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. I remember our dad talking about him when he was still incarcerated at Fort Bonifacio; how my cousins and I participated in the noise barrage the night before the April 7, 1978 elections as support to his and his colleagues’ seemingly hopeless quest for seats in the Batasan Pambansa; how we cried when he was shot, and cried even more when it seemed he knew his fate after we heard his interviews on board the plane; how we joined Friday afternoon rallies at Ayala together with our teacher at the Colegio de Sta. Rosa and getting tear-gassed some of the time; how our father organized Anti-Marcos and Pro-Cory rallies in Bulacan; how my brothers and I grew up being indoctrinated about the evils of corruption and that honesty is the best policy.

    I was affected then, I am still affected now that those responsible for his death have not been brought to justice.

    On August 26, celebrities, artists and ordinary citizens organized the Million People March to Luneta to protest against the pork barrel scam. On its Facebook page, organizers said Senators and Congressmen should hear taxpayers. As to who will speak during the rally, or if there would be any program (formal or informal) at all, no one can say. I believe people are just fed up. The culture of impunity is too much to bear and ignore. Filipinos may be a patient and tolerant people but patience also runs out and tolerance has an end.

    To the curious, the Cry of Balintawak allegedly happened on August 26, 1898. This was when the Katipuneros headed by Andres Bonifacio tore their cedulas which triggered the Revolution against the Spaniards. However, I say “allegedly” because historians seem to be in disagreement as to when and where the “cry” actually happened: Is it in Balintawak or at Pugad Lawin (or somewhere else)? Is it on August 23, 24, 25 or 26? Nonetheless, August 26 seems to be as significant a day as any.

    After all, I wonder, who isn’t affected with Janet Lim-Napoles and everything about her. What she says and doesn’t say (like where she is as of this writing); what she did and neglected to do (like paying the correct taxes); what she knows and conveniently forgot (like the name of her coal business in Indonesia); what she owns and what else she doesn’t (like more real property aside from the 28 houses and condominium units and more cars aside from the 30 cars in the Department of Justice list).

    The bogus non-government organizations with links to her that were able to receive PDAF are unbelievable. How could any person give money to someone who doesn’t exist? How could any one buy something that is invisible? Impossible—unless Napoles is involved in “budol-budol”.

    What more if the money is not theirs to begin with but money that we, the Filipino people, worked hard for and paid to the government in the form of taxes with the expectation that it will come back to us in the form of improved services and infrastructure? How could any right-thinking elected public official give a sorry excuse that he or she didn’t know? How could people supposedly more intelligent than us be duped by Napoles?

    I am affected because I know the answers to my questions. I am affected because I don’t want my children and their friends to inherit the same culture of impunity we did.


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