Bridges of ‘honor’-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
THERE are many kinds of bridges one may choose to build in one’s world. To a person blessed with opportunities to undertake the building of these bridges, it becomes incumbent upon him or her to be zealously on guard that no one would dare impute any sense of ill-will or questionable motives in the building of these bridges.
It could be this reality that a former president expressed deep opposition to when a senator “called for an investigation on the alleged overpricing of materials needed to undertake the construction of steel bridges during the time of the former leader.”
A former follower of the erstwhile president thought such imputation should not be condoned and seized the cudgels for her former boss, questioning the motive behind the senator’s act. The follower said that the bridge program spanned four administrations, including the present Aquino government.
She said that “Senator (Sergio) Osmeña earlier accused the former president (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) of orchestrating ‘serial plunder’ that allowed her and her cohorts to overprice by tens of billions of pesos the P111 billion bridge program.”
The P111 billion is the total amount of 14 bridge contracts that were supposedly misrepresented as having been funded through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) concessional financing from such countries like the United Kingdom.
Well, what the Arroyo spokesperson was really pointing out was the fact that Osmeña is dragging not only the former president to the scams but also the leaders of the four other administrations, including PNoy. This means that graft and corruption in government is something that is widespread, a practice no administration can escape being part of.
That the assumption of graft and corruption in public office as being isolated and true only to, say, the term of Arroyo is false, may find basis in the report in the same issue of this daily that the Palace is willing to hear the side of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) official who was recently dismissed from office on the ground of “lack of confidence.”
Well, let’s face it. Our leaders may believe that building bridges would be a feat worth undertaking, if only to prove her honorable aspiration and sterling motive in public service. But then, public life is difficult to protect and defend in an open society.
There are always Senator Osmeñas who have similar good intentions to stand and question whether a former president’s objective behind a program to build bridges is truly an honorable one.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 20, 2012.