For the longest time, we have invested our trust in our public officials, from the President down to the barangay (village) chairman and even the head of kabataang barangay. For so many years, we have been living with a paradigm that has fooled us into believing that our leaders in government are doing what is right for all of us Filipinos and for our country.
Our challenge is that we have all succumbed to many years of intimidation, that we fear speaking out and finding out the worms that have been methodically gnawing at the very core of our values as a nation. Our leaders in government have become more committed to themselves than to our country and the Filipinos they promised to serve.
Now, it is a spectacle watching all sorts of government luminaries, past and present, weighing in on the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Disbursement Acceleration Program and other similar government funds which have been used, misused, abused reportedly for personal gains. As soon as the whistleblowers spoke and the Commission on Audit made their reports, the floodgates opened, people who simply want to grandstand have stood in their own soapbox and rattled off whatever comes out of their minds. Regardless of what the almost 100 million Filipinos think and feel. Their aim is to muddle the issue. You can easily tell if someone is pro-GMA, pro-Ramos, pro-Erap, pro-PNoy or pro-themselves. They are trying to outtalk, outdo, outsmart each other and egos are flying high in the air. Nobody is really thinking of the country’s well-being and of the Filipinos’ welfare.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s biggest achievement so far is to deflect accusations hurled at him about his PDAF. Good acting, good script. Now the names Enrile, Estrada and Revilla are no longer in the frontpages days following Estrada’s speech in the Senate.
One thing Jinggoy has failed to do is to gain the respect of the Filipinos and his colleagues in government, except those “loyal” to his father. He didn’t respect the power of the Filipinos. And promise, he will pay a dear price.
Authors Greg Swartz and Julie K. Thorpe wrote about the Lesson of the Stone. “This type of marble that Michelangelo sculpted David from is pure white marble, the finest in the world. It has been in the Alpi Alpuan Mountains near Carrata, Italy, since the time of the Roman Empire. This marble has the least impurities of all struck in the wrong place. It’s unforgiving. The stone will not forgive a lack of expertise in carving. One wrong blow from the hammer and the stone will shatter and the sculpture will be ruined. The sculptor must not only expertly visualize the final image inside the stone but must also know where to strike the stone so it will willingly yield the final image.
“Michelangelo knew the lesson of the stone. His mother died when he was a baby, and was sent to the wife of a stonecutter to be well-nursed. All his life, Michelangelo remembered the reverence of the old stonecutters toward the stone and their mystical words of caution: The power lay in the stone, not in the arms or the tools. If ever a mason came to think he was master, the stone would oppose him.”
I am not passing judgment on the upbringing of Jinggoy nor the family he was born in, definitely he is clueless about the lesson of the stone. I saw him on TV, smirking triumphantly as if he has already been acquitted of the charges he is facing. He does not know the lesson of the stone.
And all those speaking out of their lonely retirement or are simply trying to put their own dirty fingers on the pie, are equally clueless about the lesson of the stone. Remember, it is unforgiving and will not forgive those who lack expertise in carving.
Lest we again forget, let’s push for the abolition of all forms of PDAF and the punishment of those who personally profited from its misuse and abuse.