11/26/2011

DERNIÈRE LIGNE ... DE DÉFENSE ?

In her youth, graft-buster COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, knew the essence of "equity".

Their daily "baon" to school for all her siblings were left inside a can of coins on the table every morning for each to get their share. Even then, Heidi made sure she did not take one centavo more because, consequently, one of them will be unfairly deprived.

Such is the state of corruption. It is a zero sum game. Whenever one steals, someone else will suffer. When one steals, it is always one classroom, one desk less. When one steals, it is always one kilometer of road or a few inches of asphalt less. When one steals, it is always one box of antibiotic less, one less nurse to hire in the countryside. The cost of corruption is always personal to the Filipino people.

Former president Gloria M. Arroyo has been arrested for an election sabotage case; she is facing four other plunder cases and one more (2004) election sabotage case. The odds are stacked against her.

One plunder case involving P550 million of the funds from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) deprived rightful benefits to the hard-working OFWs who left their homes because there are no meaningful work opportunities here. The other plunder case involved P1.6 billion in fertilizer funds that GMA allegedly siphoned through her Department of Agriculture "magicians" into her allies in the LGUs for the 2004 national elections – effectively disenfranchising the poor farmers who toil over our land to give us food.

One other plunder case involved the spiriting of some P325 million in PCSO (sweepstakes) funds which could have gone to indigent patients aching for medicine and hospitalization. The overpriced P1-billion Macapagal Highway (how apt a name) which was an exercise in highway robbery (pun clearly intended) could have created several farm to market roads benefiting growers and consumers alike.

Ditto fore the billions of collected "road users' tax" (MVUC) which were dispensed freely to cronies and the highest bribers by a "quasi-cabinet" without specific budgetary authority that can only come from Congress.

Although the scandalous NBN-ZTE US$329-million deal contract was aborted, according to a "technical man" insider, some US$35 million changed hands into the dirty pockets of politicians, allowing even a suspect like former Comelec chair Ben Abalos to bribe former NEDA head Romy Neri of P200 million. With that huge Neri bribe, can one imagine the magnitude of kickback the principal players must be making?

That could have gone to the "social fund" given by the DSWD directly to the poorest of this country.

Those examples amplify the thesis that corruption debilitates Juan de la Cruz personally and graft is a primary cause of poverty in this country. President Noynoy is right. Corruption has become an institution by itself in this so-called Catholic nation.

But election sabotage is probably worse – it steals the mandate of the people's will and makes a usurper-president preside over trillions of the national budget during her term by stealing the crown of fiscal authority.

Without the 2004 wholesale cheating, FPJ the actor could have won and lived to claim the crown that was his. The lady senator Loren Legarda has shown a class all her own in keeping quiet over the "election sabotage" issue since if both FPJ and Loren were indeed cheated in the 2004 elections, then Loren Legarda should be president by now with FPJ's death.

If Legarda just but opens her mouth regarding the deceitful 2004 polls, she would easily be mocked as still yearning for that higher office 7 years after and a few million pesos poorer from her failed electoral protest.

Migs Zubiri tried to make a "heroic" act by resigning from the senate in the wake of disclosures of cheating in the other 2007 senate polls.

His resignation only confirmed what Zubiri knew in his heart – that it was Koko Pimentel, not him, who won the last senate seat in 2007. Enough of drama – we have them in surfeit during afternoon "teleseryes".

One can describe GMA in a number of derogatory ways – but being stupid cannot be one of them.

She reads that every cheat, every despot will one day have his/her recompense – and she, therefore, built her own Sicilian Defense in the chess game that was meant to checkmate president Aquino wherein he will "reign but not rule". GMA knew that for scoundrels to be hang, one does not need a rope but evidence.

And the evidence must be weighed by partisans to her cause.

After 2010 GMA's line of defense was Congress, Ombudsman (Oh Mercy Me) and Supreme Court (with many Arroyo appointees). Thus GMA broke tradition by going down from president to become a Pampanga congressperson.

She was hoping that with two sons there (Datu and Mikee) and a brother in law (Iggy), the Arroy dynasty can still polarize Congress into two strongly competing factions. History showed – that is all theory. People know who butters the bread, so to speak, and flock to the incumbent president's political party.

FG's classmate, a two-time bar taker named Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez stuck to her seat like her butt was epoxied for life there until Congress impeached her and she resigned in shame.

GMA is now left with his last refuge – the Supreme Court. In three of their decisions, the SC had shown fidelity to its billing as an Arroyo Court: (a) TRO on the Truth Commission (b) TRO on the impeachment raps verses Ombudsman Gutierrez and now (c) TRO on the travel ban on the Arroyos.

Senator Kiko Pangilinan asked the SC categorically if it aims to serve the people or the Arroyos who appointed most of them and Ms. Armida Siguion-Reyna was led to dramatically declaim that no "law is greater than the people's general welfare."

The Filipino people had shown it will execute extra-constitutional means (EDSA I and II) to kick out even a president who transgresses the law. "People power" they call it – and the world recognizes its legitimacy.

The problem with GMA's last defense called the Supreme Court is that the members were not elected by the people but appointed by the president. Short of impeaching them selectively in Congress, what in Cory Aquino's name can the Filipino people do if an SC becomes the "refuge of scoundrels"?

Eight of them have just been labeled the "Coronarroyo Court of Eight".

Another unspeakable judgment from GMA's "last defense" soon may require more than just insulting labels. Who and what will discipline the Supreme Court?

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