The day of reckoning

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I AM writing this column in Ormoc while I am visiting with my wife our daughter who is a member of Balay Mindanaw volunteering rehabilitation work in Leyte. The City of Ormoc is celebrating this month its 417th Fiesta in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul. The city survives its Yolanda ordeal and is now moving on. We are staying here in the Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel of the Carmelites, high up in the mountains. It is a beautiful scenery here like, Mt. Thabor.

Last June 6, I read in the Inquirer that the Ombudsman announced the indictment of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, and six others for graft and corruption. Their probable cause is based on sworn complaints, testimonies of witnesses and other public documents.

It is beyond reasonable doubt: the accused have willfully, unlawfully, criminally amassed, accumulated and acquired ill-gotten wealth through a continuation of overt criminal acts. So now the criminals should be arrested and put behind bars. Is this wishful thinking? Maybe it is, but I believe we must be serious now in fighting corruption in our government.

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Nobody is above the law, not in the least our honorable Senators. If these Senators would be handcuffed in the Senate, that would have a tremendous impact on our people. Nothing would feel more satisfying for the victims of Martial Law, when the hands of the ‘architect’ of Martial Law himself is finally put in chains. The Senate is more than its individual members. Respect for the institution of the Senate requires cleansing it by all means from its criminal elements. That would really mean a higher esteem of the nation for the Senate and the Law of the land.

Finally it would mean the arrest of real ‘big fish’. Imagine, the psychological impact on the people, their being put in jail. Conchita Carpio Morales has committed herself fulltime and with full-force to prove them guilty in court. This is not selective justice, it will show universal justice. It will make it easier also to prosecute the others who are just as guilty, or even less guilty.

Our neighbors in Asia, whether they are democratic or authoritarian, whether they are communist or capitalist, whether they are religious or secular, may clearly see that justice is like “rain that falls on the rich and the poor,” or it is not justice at all.

We need to punish the guilty however high up they go, not because it is a nice thing to do but because it is the right thing to do. The arrest of the three Senators will finally open our eyes. We could probably show mercy to Senator Enrile, because of his old age, but…. justice must be done!

The day of reckoning must include also the final scrapping of the Commission on Appointments. That whole Commission of Appointments is a big anomaly in our government. Our honorable women like Leila de Lima, Conchita Carpio Morales, Dinky Soliman, et al, and our honorable government officials like Butch Abad, Jess Robredo (post-humously) and Gus Lagman should finally be confirmed in their position, not by this commission of idiots but by a Commission composed of people who have a common sense, who are academicians and real NGOs who have distinguished themselves for serving the poor farmers and poor laborers. Let us abolish the old CA and replace it with people of integrity who really can be trusted. That would be the final day of reckoning.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 12, 2014.

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