“Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.” Ray Davies
By Alex P. Vidal
No Ilonggo politician has been jailed for graft and corruption.
But many politicians from Western Visayas have pending cases in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Some of them have already retired or still active in public service, while some have already died.
There has been no conviction in the P125-million Pavia Housing scam in Pavia, Iloilo committed by prominent characters in Iloilo city government more than 10 years ago, but some of the accused are already dead if not retired.
Most of those facing graft charges normally belong to the opposition and their cases are the ones being expedited if the administration considers them as threats in the next elections.
While cases against the opposition are prioritized and tackled like a speed of light, cases filed against politicians allied with the administration gather cobwebs and may never even be remembered until the changing of the guards in the Office of the Ombudsman, when the next president takes over the helm of the Malacanang.
That’s why we don’t believe that Senate President Franklin Drilon of Molo, Iloilo City will be jailed for graft and corruption.
We don’t believe that the graft cases filed against him by his former Twitter account handler, Manuel “Boy M” Mejorada for the alleged overpricing of Iloilo Esplanade, etecetera; and former TESDA chief Augusto “Buboy” Syjuco for alleged overpricing of the Iloilo Hall of Justice, etcetera will ever reach first base.
Drilon is one of the most powerful personalities in the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III today; the most influential honco in the kingdom of the Liberal Party.
As the third highest official of the country, Drilon enjoys the protection of no less than the President and his cabal which are also die-hard LP stalwarts.
He is even one of their rumored candidates for vice president in the 2016 elections.
The Office of the Ombudsman, as a quasi-judicial body, can never claim independence from Malacanang if it allows itself to be used as a tool by the Malacanang to persecute those identified with the opposition, but is lenient to those identified with the administration.
The Philippines is probably one of the countries in Asia, if not the world, that tolerates and even elects into office corrupt politicians.
Even if many of the rumored aspirants for the highest positions in the country are tainted in the imbroglio related to misuse of pork barrel funds and other graft and corruption scandals, Filipinos are still willing to give them mandates in 2016.
Even if the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will establish the guilt of the Binays in the multi-billion Makati parking space scandal, Vice President Jejomar Binay will remain as the leading aspirant for the presidency of the country two years from now.
Binay is extremely popular in Western Visayas, including in Capiz, the bailiwick of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.
So many politicians in Iloilo, Negros, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras have shifted allegiance to Binay. And their numbers are growing by leaps and bounds.
For these local politicians, graft and corruption issue will never diminish the vice president’s chances in 2016.
We continue to tolerate and elect into office even the worst politicians. That’s why we deteriorate as a nation. Corruption eats up the very foundation of our socio-political sphere.
The practical difficulty surrounding the effort to get rid of corruption is enormous. It comes from all sides. The biggest is the obstacles arising from a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy, warned Syed Hussein Alatas, in his book, “Corruption and the Destiny of Asia.”
Any effort to correct injustice and reduce the suffering of the victims should be attempted however limited its success may be. The experience itself is valuable and revealing, explained Alatas.