Monday, March 03, 2008

When Our Heroes Hold The Philippines Hostage, Part II

.:When The Philippines Is Held Hostage By Its Own Heroes, Part II:.

This is the second installment of a (hopefully) two-part look at how our Filipino "heroes" have been allowed to run roughshod over us all because they are "heroes". While they deserve credit where credit is due, it cannot be denied that they get away with a lot of things they shouldn't by sheer dint of their status.

This, I believe, is a damning indictment of how we just love looking the other way when we find an inconvenient truth, solely because of the benefits we perceive they bring us. We should realize by now that this should never be an excuse.

.:The Whistleblower:.

Often, the whistleblower is regarded with much admiration because they do this in the face of threats to their well-being. By whistleblower, we don't mean Senators who use their privilege speech as an opportunity to slander other people without fear of any repercussions. We mean people who come forward seemingly from out of nowhere to expose something so grave, something so terrible, that people just might be spurred to action to fight the status quo.

I still remember EDSA II like it was yesterday. Chavit Singson showed up, implicated Joseph Estrada in jueteng payoffs, and then after Estrada was deposed from his position, Chavit became a "consultant" to stop jueteng, which made me roll my eyes. It was ludicrous, to say the least.

Then, he even decided to run for senator. As if they wanted to slap in our face just how huge a failure the justice system can be, we had Erap's very own "collector" run for senator, completely ignoring his role in the whole thing, as if he was actually innocent.

The audacity of Singson was unbelievable. He went ahead and got away with his complicity in the jueteng issue, despite the fact that being a mere whistleblower should've simply meant that he really should've found himself in a jail cell just like Estrada, who of course, just walked out six years later as if nothing happened.

Truly, politics makes for the strangest of bedfellows. I really can't begin to imagine how repulsive it felt to me when I first heard the news. We spent millions of pesos on what was essentially one gigantic moro-moro where Joseph Estrada practically walks from plunder. At the end of the day, we lost, and we still have our "hero" Chavit Singson, running around as if he never did anything wrong.

My memory doesn't run that short.

.:And Now, The New Hero:.

So now, enter Joey de Venecia and Jun Lozada, both involved in the hot-button topic of the day: the ZTE Broadband scandal.

What we seem to be overlooking in the current expose is that de Venecia and Lozada are also guilty of kickbacks in this deal, any which way it could've gone. Sure, de Venecia's proposal may cost less money, but there was still an inexplicably large sum of money in the pricetag that made no sense when he very well knew the project would've cost significantly less than that. Lozada is by no means clean either, as he was willing to push for sixty million even if that was also grossly overpriced.

Just because someone steals less does not mean they're not thieves too.

I laud de Venecia and Lozada for exposing this latest attempt at a travesty on our country. I cannot say that enough, and I cannot help but continue hoping Lozada in particular doesn't get killed for his coming forward. Despite that, I don't think lionizing either person just for what they did should mean that we ought to overlook their roles in the issue. Both of them have guilt in this matter, and I'm especially annoyed over how Lozada insisted Ateneo should take a more active stance against the president as if ADMU didn't care about the country's situation one bit.

You see, while DLSU took the charge to support Lozada, ADMU was taking an active stand for the Sumilao farmers, an issue which has been woefully ignored because of the ZTE scandal. Despite that, ADMU still participated in rallies and noise barrages nonetheless, and I'm genuinely surprised how socially aware Ateneo has been this past schoolyear.

There are so many issues we overlook, but at the end of the day, this country is held hostage by our "heroes" not just because they are far from perfect and yet lead the charge, but because their imperfections continue to splinter us. The status quo stands, but we know it's not good enough.

I've had enough of how the government's spin machine just makes every single negative thing not be their fault. Giving an X-rating to political movies? It's because they're "one-sided". Yes. Because films are supposed to be all about journalistic integrity. The World Bank turns down a request for a loan because the Philippines is corrupt? Not only is the Philippines not corrupt, but World Bank is!

In the face of brazen, shameless politicking and maneuvering into position, I cannot help but see how disgusting the whole situation is.

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