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Saturday, September 14, 2013
IT’S not just the pork. And it’s not just the lawmakers. The Malampaya Fund, after all, is not pork. And P900 million of these funds were also funneled to Napoles’ organizations. It doesn’t matter what name we call it, dirty hands will find it.
Beyond lawmakers, local government units and officials are involved. Both the executive and legislative branches of government have been infiltrated by scoundrels. Sadly, this piece of news is no headline to most of us.
So if we’ve known all along that corruption is rife in our country, why do we allow it to thrive?
I think it’s time we asked ourselves some soul-searching questions. Really, why do we accept corruption as a way of life? Why do we go along with it? Why do we look the other way? Why do we contribute to it?
Is it because of shared guilt? As members of the private sector, are we guilt-free? We don’t have to be lawmakers to be corrupt. If corruption thrives in government, it is because many members of the private and business sector are party to the corruption.
Is it because of greed? The world has changed. And our wants now overwhelm our needs. We all need money to live. But most people do not aspire for financial wealth to fulfill their needs but to satisfy their wants. Is this justification for a life of crime and corruption?
Is it because of the enormity and level of corruption in our country that we can no longer defeat? I know people who started out honest in government, who truly wanted to take the “daang matuwid.” Along the way, though, I saw them succumb to the system. Unable to fight the forces of corruption, they chose to join the ranks of the corrupt by either filling their personal coffers with public money or turning the other way and becoming part of the corrupt system.
Is it because of indifference? We know corruption exists but we don’t care. So long as it doesn’t affect our daily lives, why should we bother about it? We fool ourselves when we think that systemic corruption in this country is not going to affect our lives. When corruption becomes culture, it destroys the moral fabric of a people.
Have you never wondered by despite the much-touted widespread Catholicism in our country, none of the bishops have come out to threaten the corrupt with ex-communication? On the contrary, the bishops are supremely chummy with the corrupt. Isn’t it laughable that supporting the Reproductive Health bill is worthy of ex-communication yet corruption is not?
Is it because of dehumanization? The very reason why systemic corruption thrives in this nation is because we accept it as norm. We accept the universal fallacy that whatever is normal is necessarily sane. So we allow it to happen. We laugh about it. We tell stories about it. We don’t reject it. Corruption has dehumanized us as a nation.
Corruption is endemic in our country. And it has pervaded all sectors and dimensions of this nation—public and private, individual and institution, religious and secular. We cannot solve the problem if we do not acknowledge it. We are all part of the system. We are all guilty.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2013.