The PDAF mess and more

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Ej Lopez

Ej Lopez

NEVER has there been so much doubt cast on the current crop of political leaders than now. It seems quite demeaning that being in politics at this time is more of a personal retribution than a reward for “facility” rendered to the people. Regardless of alleged participation or non-participation in this PDAF fund misuse of gigantic proportions, they are more likely to insist on proving their innocence lest they are found guilty as charged. By all indications, majority if not all the personalities in the political bureaucracy is in for a great struggle in their career, defending themselves from all accusations and innuendos that in the end will hopefully reinvent our political landscape.

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It is quite unfortunate for a simple “Juan dela Cruz” that in a struggling economy like the Philippines where 40 percent of the people live below the poverty line, where hunger incidence has never waned, and where most of the time the government is reeling from budgetary deficits, fund embezzlement that runs into the billions of pesos do happen routinely, committed by the very persons with whom we entrusted our votes. Had a portion of that amount been allocated to the rightful beneficiaries, perhaps a better economic scenario would have been created and a better life would have been enjoyed by our people.

In principle, an average citizen who works 12 months a year does not get the full benefit of his yearly toil; the most that a fixed-income earner could enjoy from his annual income is eight to nine months’ worth of pay, while the rest go to the government in the form of taxes. Such is the nature of the tax deduction mechanism “arbitrarily” imposed by the government on a fixed-income earner who “voluntarily” gives blood money on the assumption that government services and funds are dispensed properly.

This so-called financial mess that our political rulers are in right now is a test of how our people will respond to this kind of economic and political “disorder”. The people, on the other hand, should have no other recourse but to wake up from the deep slumber that put them deep in a hole they don’t rightfully deserve.

At this point, it is less relevant whether these legislators and political leaders are participants in this PDAF scam or not; in the first place, the act has been done and it will be next to impossible for these amounts to be returned to government coffers for proper dispensation. What has been committed, aside from large-scale estafa, is the much bigger crime of economic sabotage. The certainty that no one will be prosecuted in this celebrated case which has already dragged on for quite some time looms large on the horizon. Again the average Filipino is the victim and will always be one.

These kinds of wrongdoing seem embedded in our democratic arena. A democracy that has been abused, misused and refused. This will always be the travail of any citizen of this country regardless of social strata. As such, to aspire to become a full grown economy worthy of competing in a globalized world is like betting in the lotto with a one-in-more-than-a-million chance of hitting the jackpot.

But then again, to aspire for leaders who will truly reflect the dreams and aspirations of “Juan dela Cruz” would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. The political arena will forever be in search of personalities who will reflect the Filipino’s desire for a much better life and society. Yet as simple as it is, good qualities are endangered qualities, a trait and character only found in the likes of the Tanadas, C.M. Rectos, Salongas, Dioknos, et al.

Gone are the days when the political profession and national leadership was the exclusive domain of people with the conscientious quality of serving the people sans personal agenda. Now are the days when popularity and celebrity status have become the criteria to assure electoral victory. After all these years of political experience and unprecedented “tragedies,” the people have never learned; and as such, they reap what they deserve.

Higher inflation
The inflation rate for the month of May as projected by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is seen to accelerate to 4.7 percent. According to BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, the acceleration is due to the increases in the price of sugar and rice. Of course these are basic commodities that are considered essentials in the consumers’ market basket and therefore bound to create a chain reaction within the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI). Though still manageable, the inflation rate at that level is perhaps one of the highest in recent years.

It is therefore incumbent upon consumers and the government to be vigilant in observing the price movements of basic commodities lest we become seriously affected by this problem that will have large repercussions on our ability to buy the products that we need.

For comments e-mail: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net.

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