…. Thus the message of this editorial expose’ is simple: To present a rare opportunity for the world to see how corruption works in a tinseled government – a government installed by street democracy. edwin sumcad, 03/05/08
Prologue: Corruption in the present Manila government cannot be buried in the sand. The world knows even if Filipinos zip their lips and pretend it does not exist.
The Philippines and Burma [where the killings of monks and freedom fighters by government police and security forces are going on] are currently the focus of world attention and political alarm in Southeast Asia. Both are members of the economic sub-regional organization called ASEAN where the U.S., EU and Japan have huge investments.
EU is nervous and recently intervened calling on the Arroyo government to cut clear and clean from this accusation of massive corruption or else … Like EU and Japan, Washington is having sleepless nights on what to do with this closest ally of the United States in the Far East.
The Hydra Of Corruption
The Philippines in the ICU is for the world to behold!
Maybe it is not that hard to understand why the Philippines today is in the ICU economically and politically hovering between life and death. What triggers this tragic scenario is hard to believe but true.
As we know since medieval history was taught in the classroom, the power of the mob knows no law … reminiscent of the Fall of Bastille due to spiritual decline and massive authoritarian abuse and corruption of power. It is in this sense that the Philippine case is unique. Given the standard of governance that lost its moral compass, the opportunity to view this exceptional anatomy of corruption is rare.
Deal or no deal is a choice, but in the Philippines today, it is deal and bust. That was what the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime did — it attempted to deal with this huge corrupt Chinese ZTE corporation NBN telecommunication project for a reported P6.0 billion kickback – and went kaput! It was discovered and hell broke loose! The project could not stand public scrutiny and was canceled. And the wounding and the dying began to unfold.
The conspiracy exposed, conspirators remind the public of vultures beck-calling and clawing each other over what would have been the carcass of corruption. The quarrel was on whether or not the government was corrupt, and who was there to blame if it was.
The view from where political opponents stand is quite clear: That Arroyo is a corrupt president, to them is public knowledge. The condemnation of her government had been the by-word of protests even before she reportedly rigged the 2004 presidential election to perpetuate herself in power.
Looking back, Arroyo became “president of the Philippines” through an EDSA mob-power grab in 2001 when street marchers led by Arroyo and co-conspirators, forced duly elected President Joseph Estrada to resign or be killed together with his family if he did not leave Malacanang forever [Malacanang Palace is the Philippines’ White House].
After the fall of the Estrada government, Arroyo as “president” began a regime of power-dealing and corruption. The Media, both local and foreign, provided the different scenarios of the worsening moral decadence that has long been taking place under the Arroyo regime, for the world to see.
Arroyo and her accomplices deny the unfolding of this exposed debauchery. Thus in the current NBN project kickback scandal, the Arroyo government is denying that there was any corruption in the failed transaction.
To members of the Arroyo Cabinet, there was no one to blame for the cancellation of the NBN project. In fact they went public, declaring that there are no thieves in the government …!
Members of the Arroyo Cabinet often meet to defend Arroyo. It also made a public declaration that the government is NOT corrupt, and that not a single member of her Cabinet is corrupt! As if they told this to the Marines, and said hey, the Marines bought it, dude! This language of the street communicates more effectively.
To many concerned observers, this is what makes the stinking odor of corruption in the present Manila government excruciatingly unbearable. What causes this problem is that corrupt officials consider the Filipinos a bunch of nincompoops. They never stop insulting the intelligence of the Philippine public, to the discomfort of the outside world, especially to countries with invested interests in the Philippines, economic and otherwise.
Given this lowly perception of intelligence of those who watch the political, economic and moral decline of the country, corrupt public officials really believe that the ordinary Filipino is not smart enough to know what they are doing, much more understand what they are saying. So as a bad habit they do what they want, and in public say anything they want even though what they are saying is so stupid, and still be in office when they wake up in the morning and report to work.
This is the route of escape when one is caught doing a shenanigan in public office, even as we cannot help but imagine a flock of hovering vultures fiercely fighting for their folly over the carcass of corruption. So far in the current quarrel among Arroyo’s coterie of political serfs serving her well in all branches of government, the Speaker of the House, a loyal henchman of Arroyo was down and out. The star witness in the corrupt NBN deal was also kidnapped by agents of Malacanang, and would have been “liquidated” had the wife, family and relatives not sought the intervention of the Media, especially in exposing the suspicious disappearance of this frightened witness, a close friend of Arroyo’s political lieutenants involved in this egregious multi-million-dollar foul-up.
Rodolfo Noel Lozada, the star witness was freed from his mysterious captivity, after religious organizations and the Makati Business Club mounted angry public demonstrations against his kidnap by the president’s men Ver style – reminiscent of Marcos’ most feared Gestapo Gen. Fabian Ver in those dark years of Philippine history where handcuffed anti-government witnesses were reportedly ordered to step on a box of liquid cement, and when the cement dried up, dumped into the sea never to be heard or seen again.
Speaker Jose de Venecia, now ex-Speaker, was Arroyo’s henchman in Congress. They were said to be politically inseparable. Unfortunately, the Speaker’s son, Jose de Venecia III, was a businessman who lost his bid for the NBN telecom project to the Chinese. The younger De Venecia accused Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel Arroyo and former chairman of Comelec [Commission on Election], Benjamin Abalos, Jr., of fixing the anomalous bid in favor of the Chinese corporation.
Notice that had the younger De Venecia won the “$329-million contract to build a broadband telecommunications network in the Philippines”, it would have been because of the fact that Arroyo and the De Venecia “interests” are intertwined. In politics, for Arroyo to De Venecia, it is “scratch-my-back” in Congress, and I will scratch yours in business.
However, the larger kickback from the Chinese deal changed the course of this bilateral political and economic alliance to a bigger multilateral alliance, where there is more loot for more friends to share. De Venecia’s speakership in the House was expendable … it had somehow succumbed to greed.
In short, De Venecia was divorced from his wedlock to this position of influence in the House that Arroyo orchestrates from Malacanang, a political matrimony which in the first place was nothing but a marriage of convenience between him and Arroyo who is said to be clandestinely much smarter and more vicious and manipulative than the hated former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
What is probably more laughable than a circus clown in town is that one of Arroyo’s defenders and hatchet men in the House — Congressman Luis Villafuerte of Camarines Sur — had declared in public that De Venecia was ousted not because of the NBN deal that went sour when his son exposed the anomaly, but was unseated because of “mismanagement of the House of Representatives”.
Was it merely a coincidence that De Venecia was removed? Was it a conspiracy of fate, and not of men? De Venecia was then attacked by an alliance colleague for the first time as the “father” of corruption.
See why it is not that difficult to understand how in a manner of speaking, two legged birds of corruption are beck-calling and clawing each other, even as they spread their fighting wings up high in the air of public opinion and insult the intelligence of the Philippine public. The Arroyo cult expects Filipinos to believe this Villafuerte pitch, and to swallow the spin hook and sinker!
Take note also of what is of record and of public knowledge: Former chairman of the Comelec, Abalos, Jr. was said to be a good soldier to Arroyo. The reported reward to Abalos, Jr. for rigging the 2004 election in favor of then presidential candidate Arroyo was in the form of a huge kickback that would come from this Chinese deal. This planned payback was supposed to be airtight until it burst in the seam and spelled over in Congress and in the Media.
Consider the following to be able to connect to this anatomy of corruption: Former socio-economic planning secretary Romulo Neri under whose jurisdiction the deal was supposed to be managed, did not use the experts from his department, to study, negotiate and close the deal with the Chinese for the Philippine government. Instead, Abalos, Jr. who was not officially involved, was specially dispatched for this mission of alleged wrongdoing, and the deal was closed promising a multi-billion-peso kickback.
“What do they think of us, stupid that we cannot see this haze of corrupt connection?”. A disquieted Filipino-American residing both in the Philippines and the United States was overheard with this outrage in a social gathering. Many more were bitterly kicking the bucket so to speak against this explosion of corruptions in Manila.
Picture in your mind the fallen body of a wild caribou in the hunting ground called the marshland of politics and greed. The caribou lay mortally wounded by the spears of fortune hunters, and life is slowly ebbing away due to economic exhaustion and moral wounds sustained as the dark shadow of Hell is about to claim the dying.
That’s the Philippines in the ICU for you to see.
© Copyright Edwin A. Sumcad. Access NWS March 05, 2008.
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