”Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with outmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.” (Phil. Constitution: Art. XI, Sec. 1, emphasis supplied)
According to the signs of the times and the vivid realities about the ruling administration, the above cited constitutional provision should instead thus read: Public office is a private trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be over and above accountability to the people, abuse them with outmost irresponsibility, dishonesty, betrayal and incompetence, act with disloyalty and inequity, and lead luxurious lives.
While the above translation may be admittedly quite disgusting and distinctly offensive to many public officials in the Country who work much and earn little, it however still rings true to a certain number of them – specially to someone now holding the highest government position in the land. This is neither a secret nor something really shocking specially so since 2004. Lo and behold, now it can be told: The then loud, emotional and nationally celebrated expression of “sorry”, after all really meant exactly the opposite, viz, great delight and profound ecstasy on the part of the leading dramatis persona for having corned the most coveted juicy position in the Philippine government – at the cost of objective truth, social justice and national harmony.
Since then, everything about the demeaned and despised national character had no way to go but down, down, down. Oh yes, there were many schemes drawn and different tactics done to upgrade the trust and acceptability rating of the self-glorified leader – but to no avail. Truth kept being on the way, thereby exposing big abuses, outrageous duplicity and vulgar dishonesty. This is not meant in any way to say that the same now haughty reigning figure should be denied the standard privileges, amenities and perks that go with the job. This simple meant to call attention to the basic prudential norm that public office is a public trust for public service to the general public.
As to the expressed and formal constitutional provision that public officials however should “lead modest lives”, this is a big joke for the incumbent supreme public official of the Country. People are now already tired of knowing about the latter’s lavish foreign travels, luxurious foreign accommodations plus the incredibly costly foreign dinners – infallibly accompanied by a hurray gang! This is not to mention the former’s phenomenal increase of the personal assets. This is neither to point out the salivating proposal for the buying of nothing less than a jet plane for the use of the same glorious leader- eventually cancelled for the self-preservation and not for any honorable purpose.
Modest life? Come on! Be real!
August 19, 2009