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Ali Baba and the forty thieves

November 29, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ronald Roy -Nobember 29, 2007

       No, they did not care to participate in congressional deliberations for the cheap medicines bill. They hurriedly packed their things to collect from Ali Baba their reward: an all-expenses paid tour of Spain and other parts of Europe. And why not? They deserved this junket for killing the Pulido-San Luis impeachment complaint, didn’t they? Lest we forget, part of the deal is their calibrated applauses will be there to recreate the battered image of Ali Baba in the world scene, punctuating those portions of her speech with a rehearsed raise of her eyebrows. Expect over two hundred applauses in Spain. The only trouble with this narration is that the fictional Ali Baba and his forty thieves gave to the poor what they stole from the rich. Here, the junketeers line their pockets with what they steal from the people, rich or poor. Fact is stranger than fiction, isn’t it?

       The most offensive smell in human experience is man’s own turd, that which he disposes of everyday in his life. Although its disposal is a daily routine, he can never get accustomed to the foulest redolence known in the planet, so much so that he would always consider exhaust fans as priority items for his own house.

       Over a month has passed since the Glorietta 2 Mall bomb blast, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) has “conclusively” determined the tragedy to have been caused by a gas explosion. I am neither a chemist nor a chemical engineer, nor anything close to either, but as an ordinary individual with a healthy pair of nostrils, I still would like to ask why nobody has claimed getting so much as a whiff of Satan’s sulfuric odor, before or after the blast. Otherwise put, would not an explosion of such a destructive force emit in no meager quantity the malodorous fumes in question? Can people then be blamed for “smelling” a cover-up purposely designed by the PNP to divert public attention from the numerous scandals now keeping busy the senatorial investigators?

       My common reply to two similar text queries is: Yes, elements in the PNP were—or might have been—used by the mastermind of Bubby Dacer’s rub out, but my reading to this day is that they were chosen to execute the job precisely to implicate then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s PNP Chief Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. For the mastermind, it was a subtle way of hitting two birds with one stone (Erap and Bubby), with Ping being an unwary “passerby”, one might say, in the deviously designed hit contract. Interestingly, eight texters correctly identified the mastermind who is very, very much still around.

       Unquestionably, GMA has the knack for being at the right time at the right place, and for doing and saying things with maximum effect attuned to her survival. European authorities applaud her for demanding that Myanmar Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Thein Sein immediately release Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from her oppressive 12-year house arrest in Yangon, and make his regime an honorable part of the civilized world of free communities. Hrmmph….we call this GMA’s trademark hypocrisy!

       The same officials also applaud GMA for not implementing our statutory mandate for capital punishment. We call this her casual defiance of the law. Second nature to her is playing straight to the well-meaning, albeit misguided, heart of the Holy Father, who condemns capital punishment for being contrary to the Lord’s commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. The simple question is: Just because Pope Benedict XVI says so, do we now condemn killing to promote God’s peace the way St. Joan of Arc and some past Popes did, or to protect our families from brigands and terrorists?! Verily, is not GMA as uncanny and clever as the Devil himself?

       Likewise falling on GMA’s deaf ears is a demand of the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS), a congregation of nuns, for the despotic runt to step down because she would be out of character to do so. The only way to remove her from the office she stole two times over is to force her therefrom, such as by a popular revolt or a coup d’etat. The liberating leader, collective or individual, will rise to popular acceptance. Let us not be cowed by her boring threat: And who is capable enough to replace me? Hrmmph…. we call this her ludicrous bravado! It is useless to expect people like Noli Jose, a childhood friend, to see GMA as a malevolent, self-seeking dictator. Based in America, he is doing quite well as a broker in the export-import business, and has kept well his dollar bank accounts from the probing eyes of the Bangko Sentral. He challenges me: “If you love our country like GMA does, support her shift to a parliamentary system because the presidential system is outmoded.” My answer to this hypocrite who claims he loves Filipinos is: “Any system is as good as the people comprising it.” Our presidential system is not working the way it should because our Chief Executive is a liar, a cheat and a thief; the Judicial Branch is peopled by her appointees; and the Lower House is controlled by her well-fed lapdogs who are bent on shielding her from impeachment. Say no more, Noli, lest I write an account of how you bribed an RTC Judge to obtain a dismissal of an intestate case which you openly bragged about shortly after GMA rose to power!

       As I held an old edition of the Revised Penal Code in my hands in a coffee shop, a young man at a nearby table asked me if Law was the best course to succeed in life. To make a long story short, this college freshman, a high school salutatorian, was planning to shift to Law from Nursing because he wanted to get rich fast. In so many words, I explained that Law does open wide the doors to countless opportunities in or out of the public sector, but I stressed that getting rich is a wrong motivation in any profession or vocation. I told him that a lawyer should have a profound lifelong commitment to serve the ends of justice, and that his greatest satisfaction may yet come from helping poor litigants win their cases against the mighty resources of the rich. I also reminded him that the legendary Ramon Magsaysay will forever be honored for his injunction that “those who have less in life should have more in Law”.

       But times have changed. Our youth are turning for the worse. Is it any wonder that Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., the “Father of Local Autonomy” and the lawmaker who “created” the Sangguniang Kabataan, is among the millions who are disgusted with the monster that the SK has become? As the saying goes, kids are what their parents are, what their school chums are, what drug abuse transforms them to be, etc. In their youthful socio-political lives, it is unfortunate that instead of the SK’s becoming trained for future civic leadership as intended under the Local Government Code, they have come under the influence of their trapo elders, those barangay chairmen and council members whose performance records range from negligence, tardiness and incompetence to greed, corruption and even murder—just like those used to describe higher government officials.

       It’s been said that corruption, neglect of duty and abuse of authority by officials at the barangay level are three of the most common reasons why there is widespread clamor for the abolition of barangay elections and the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan itself. The only comment I can give here is that the Code, the product of a brilliant lawmaker, if it has to be revised to save the SK, will be needing a miracle. The SK situation is fraught with morality issues, and I, for one, do not believe that morality is a function of legislation alone. Beyond the Code lies the solution that reflects every Filipino’s awareness that his reason for being begins and ends with the fear of God. To win the peace is our call, not His. All we need is just a little more faith in Him, and ourselves.

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