Editorial: Rise up?

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


BEFORE all these showbiz news took centerstage and before Yolanda drove us to tears, there was Janet Lim Napoles.

Just last Monday, there was Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte discussing the standard operating procedures of rice smugglers in the country, where they simply recycle import permits several times all over the Philippines to bring in triple, quadruple, quintuple or whatever more amount they want to.

All it takes is to have the proper connections, connections so high, you can grab a quick meeting with the Justice Secretary and you can make a warrant of arrest written in such a way as it only focuses on one particular name and no other.

Over here in Davao City, there is also the practice of adulterating fertilizers. There is one case now ongoing, but this is not the first time it happened. There were several similar incidents years back.

Years back, as well, there was the high-profile fertilizer scam where high-ranking politicians up to then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were linked, which also cost the life of newspaper columnist Marlene Garcia-Esperat of Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat who was killed in her home after writing a series about the scam where top agriculture officials were involved.

To this day, no substantial development has been achieved in this case.

We can expect the same with the Napoles case, which until now is still hanging on the comparatively pun case of serious illegal detention filed by whistleblower Ben Hur Lui; in the same way that suspected rice smuggler was arrested and quickly released because the charge against him is for power pilferage and has nothing to do with big-time smuggling of a basic commodity.

When we review all these, there is one unifying factor in all these, and that is, the major playground of the corrupt are the agriculture, rural, and poor sector.

By that alone, the whole Filipino nation should be up and shouting for justice, accountability, and yes, punishment for all the guilty. It’s already bad as it is that there are millions of poor Filipinos who can barely access government services. It’s the apex of injustice then when they are barely served and yet are the ones lining the pockets of the avaricious government officials and their private sector accomplices.

We’ve been hearing the same stories over and over again, and yet we patiently wait, doing nothing about it. In fact, by next month, it will be the ninth death anniversary of Marlene Esperat. That is but one of the cases that grabbed our collective attention. There are others that were left unexposed but widely talked about by those who know.

The way we, as a nation are going, we can never expect real reforms nor should we expect the guilty to be punished in the extent they should be. Maybe, they will be convicted for some minor power pilferage or illegal detention, with a slight rap on the wrist to go with it, but don’t expect anyone to be led to the gallows yet or punished enough to ensure that not one single other criminally-inclined will steal by the billions of pesos again.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 05, 2014.

Opinion

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