Editorial: As empty as their words-A A +A
Friday, August 30, 2013
IF INDEED pork barrel will be scrapped, which we really doubt as the President himself said it will just be replaced, the Filipino people ends up with nothing, actually.
We should never forget that the real and substantial clamor is not just the abolition of the pork barrel, but most importantly, the urgent passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill.
For as long as the Aquino Administration turn deaf ears and blind eyes to this demand, we should see him as just among the actors of this true-to-life telenovela that we are watching now.
Let us all remember that all these, from years past in fact, were orchestrated in the dark with unknowing Filipinos getting a huge chunk of their earnings chopped off for withholding taxes and a huge chunk of their grocery money being siphoned off for e-Vat, and substantial portion of their dining money knifed off for sales tax. All of these going to some rat’s pockets.
We may be angry now, because the script says the rat we have long suspected should have a name, and the scriptwriters are saying it is Janet Lim Napoles.
We jump in, shouting, demanding for her head, jeering. While on television, the senators continue to deny alliance with her despite audit records that point to them.
Let us all remember, Napoles is a private citizen. She could not siphon off the money she is accused of siphoning off if indeed, not one of those senators and congressmen are innocent. We knew all these because the Commission on Audit (COA) put out the special audit report they made, may we add, the first time it ever put out something like that online.
We may applaud the COA now for doing that, but we cannot compel it to always do that. It may or may not, and the Filipino can continue to remain blind. Why is that? Because the way it is done now, it is from the goodness of the heart of the COA leadership that it uploaded the very thick report, as it is from the goodness of the heart of President Benigno Aquino III that he promises what will replace pork will be opened for scrutiny. We are being sarcastic here, just in case you missed it.
Promises, promises, utang na loob. What is being said now, is that the Filipino people owe it to them for doing this.
We do not owe them anything. They owe us their transparent service, they owe us being accountable for all their acts. But no, Aquino will not have any of that. He wants us to be forever grateful for piecemeal declarations of transparency so that we will forever hold that debt of gratitude to him. Utang na loob, tama na. Give us that FOI that you have long owed us and stand true to your words of a government that is accountable to its people.
But then, we all know that the Filipinos are easily diverted by the newest twist in the story, and so, no one is even daring to say anything about FOI because all they want is for the Filipinos to hate Napoles, not them, and all those who siphon off government funds in the dark with the absence of an FOI Law making it even darker.
While the whole country is focused on Mrs. Napoles and her chic wheelchair, a hard-hitting commentator in Iligan City was peppered with 13 bullets, sending him off to the Pearly Gates in a thrice late evening Thursday. Fernando "Nanding" Solijon, an anchor of the public affairs program "Sandiganan" of Love Radio FM, had just had dinner and some drinks with a close friend when shot at close range by a motorcycle-riding man while walking to his car. That’s how easy it is to silence yet another man as many yet can be silenced.
Though we’ve not been peppered with bullets, the Filipino people have likewise been gagged, by being refused access to valuable information that could’ve substantiated all our demands for change. Now, we are nothing and nobody but rubble-rousers marching in too late.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 31, 2013.