No matter how much or less it is, how crisp or crumpled it appears, money is basically intended to buy commodities, to pay for personal effects, to purchase things. Something is seriously wrong when money is used to buy persons, to secure their support, gain their loyalty. It is not true that money is the root of all evil as it is bad not to have any. It is the person using money for odious motives and devious designs, who hands out money for egoist and self-serving purposes, who is vile—especially so when the money is not really his or hers.
No matter what is the title given to it, and how it was distributed, the money thus changing hands is downright bribery. The money is usually given in cash and in sizable amount depending on the desired objective and the stature of the recipient. It can be given in envelopes or in paper bags. But one thing common about bribes is that it is usually given surreptitiously. And when exposed, the standard approach is either to claim that the money came from nowhere or given by no one—even if it amounted to millions of pesos.
But hideous as well are those who sell themselves, who have prices in exchange for their otherwise sound value system. They debase their persons, shame their families, show their putrid principles. They are the living images of men and women who sell their bodies with their souls to those willing to pay for them. It becomes extremely difficult for others to respect and honor both the sellers and the buyers. This inglorious and super-gross transaction has particular relevance to individuals who hold leadership positions in government and who even demand special treatment in society.
There is really nothing new about such errant practice among a good number of politicians today from the national to the local levels of government. But the disgusting event took place recently in a very rude and crude manner among many presumably honorable men and women in the country. Furthermore, it happened in a place that was supposed to be hallowed grounds for being the distinct symbol of national governance in high moral ground.
When will this disgusting and even bizarre display of viciousness hand-in-hand with nonchalance ever stop? It already began in 2004 and lately topped by the ZTE fiasco. And there was the most recent debacle of the abundant rainfall of millions of pesos in the Palace grounds. And now, immediately after, was again the tired and tiring call for Charter Change. The means, the manner and the costs are considered irrelevant provided the principal mover will be able to continue holding power and having immunity from suit.
Where has all decency gone? What happened to the elementary norms of ethics and the basic mandate of morals? Is there no more difference between right and wrong, no more distinction between virtue and vice? How long can and will the people endure their poverty and misery vis-à-vis the abundance and opulence of those who precisely pick their pockets with indirect taxes from their birth to death?
When will honest and upright governance come?
17 October 2007