I couldn’t agree more with Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s claim that the plunder case filed against him is politically motivated. But then again, that very statement (of his) is politically motivated too. So is this article, probably.
You see, everything in this country is politically motivated.
And this is not surprising. In a place where corruption is a culture, everyone is predisposed to advancing their own interests before those of their country. Certainly, if not indubitably, public service is nothing but an occasion to amass wealth and power, no shred of social ethics whatsoever but blatant opportunism, sadly making the honest dishonest and the competent incompetent.
Probably because of our unique historical experience, our political system is not guided by any sense of nationalism. Politicians fiercely figure in political wars, violently battling it out at all costs simply to install themselves in power. That is why a strong party system such as that in the US will not work here. Politicians simply do not stand on principles, and political parties are not expected to adopt any philosophies of government and politics, but are created merely to serve the vested interests of their members.
Hence, if the incumbent administration files cases of corruption, it does so not to clean up the system but simply to crush its enemies and others opposed to it. If it is seemingly doing the right thing, it does so not to serve the ends of justice but simply to pacify public outrage. If it spares certain individuals from culpability, it does so not because they are innocent but because they are sympathetic at the very least to the powers that be. Former president and current Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga did just that, even palpably disregarding the rule of law in the process.
In the meantime, the opposition is pooling together its resources, patiently waiting for the right time, or in extreme case forcing to turn the tide to exact its revenge. So begins a vicious cycle that unabashedly makes a mockery of democratic processes at the expense of the people.
Throughout history, our politicians have shown propensity to lying, cheating and stealing to get what they want, and get rid of what they never need. Of course, they ironically get away with it by doing the same things: lying, cheating and stealing and hiring image consultants to make them look like saints instead of sinners as they have always been. After all, the people, they think, are not too discerning, often basing their opinions on personalities and not the issues involved.
I’m pretty sure there are still a “few good men” out there whose goal more than anything else is to sincerely serve the public and make a difference. I wish them well. But this article is not about them. This is more in the nature of class analysis and not about specific individuals who shouldn’t be judged based on the class they come from.
As a class though, Filipino politicians, for lack of a better politically correct term, are a bunch of opportunists, disguised as public servants, whose idea of public trust is confined within the province of lip service.
That is the crux of the matter, and I’m not in a position to offer any plausible solution except to tell it like it is.
Not too long ago, Congress, sitting as an impeachment court, succeeded in weeding out a Supreme Court chief justice for non-disclosure of his true assets and liabilities. By some bizarre twist of fate though, the very person who presided over that impeachment court now finds himself at the vortex of scandal that is way more alarming than what Corona did.
Of course, those who would prosecute Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile would find themselves in the same shoe once the situation changes. Pana-panahon lang, ikanga.
This is Philippine politics at its finest.
Atty. Edward P. Chico is the vice-chair of the Commercial Law Department of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, De La Salle University. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.