The tales and woes of graft and corruption during the incumbency of the present administration have become so gross and blatant that they have practically become non-news. When told and heard, people already take them as a matter of course.
In fact, what makes news are the lowly drivers, security guard and other little people who still prove honest and upright. They return lost money, forgotten bags and the like. In most cases, they are duly recognized by those concerned and even given rewards. This is the reality of ordinary people returning extraordinary amounts of money to their rightful owners.
In the government, the higher the public official, the bigger graft and corruption they indulge in. It is not for nothing that the Philippines recently bagged no less than the champion status in corruption all over the ASEAN region. More recently, there are certain very interesting reports precisely about big and shameless corruption related to the ASEAN Summit venture in Cebu: Lampposts.
With the total cost of every lamppost, it could be said that they are heavily gold plated, at least. The inquiry shows that there was one high public official on the take. But lo and behold, another high public official said that the national leadership “will not and will never tolerate any abuses in government.”
He should have immediately added: “Joke, Joke, Joke!” Everybody would have had their good laugh, and that could have been the end of the story. But to say such as twisted falsity with an extra upright face, is definitely something for the books.
The fact is that on exactly the same day, there was the glaring and sickening report that CARP funds amounting to some pesos 419 million were spent by government officials on such items as mobile phone and prepaid cards, clothes and meals, travels and other things.
It can be said that in the case of government corruption, the lies that its high officials say and repeat, make them eventually look like infallible truths—even if such were downright falsities.
Filipinos then may rightfully say: “Heaven help us!”
March 29, 2007