The President stepped on the podium last Wednesday with a message. He talked about the PDAF and the DAP, and how the conversation has switched to how some people think he has stolen. The words, “Pork Barrel King” come to mind. This is a turn of phrase used by the militant left, and by the opposition. Well, at least, that’s the underlying message. The change in conversation orchestrated by what passes as the opposition is a well thought of character assassination. Hit the President where he is most vulnerable, and so Jinggoy Estarda was the B-29 that dropped the Little Boy poop.
For weeks the conversation shifted from theft— corruption at the hands of Estrada into this manufactured one. These days you don’t need actual proof, just the idea— and boom, thas the news. And so the President thought to fight back against this character assassination, going so far as interrupting the teleseryes people enjoy to give his piece.
What the President said was nothing new. Much of it, mentioned in this blog weeks ago as things you should know. The President’s explanation was a dumbed down version of the things Secretary Butch Abad had always mentioned in his press releases, press conferences, and interviews carried also by cable news. The ProPinoy piece was based on those press conference, and nothing that couldn’t be googled.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise, reading my timeline through much of the President’s speech was a running commentary from the public. One would assume to wait for the entire speech to conclude, but we hear what we want to hear and react accordingly. It was pretty much broken along party lines. No surprise there— the militant left hate anyone in power— so true enough they did what we expect them to do.
If you believe the President before, and believe in his campaign to rid corruption, then you would be satisfied with the President’s explanation of what DAP is— or was. If you never liked the President before you have no cause to change your mind with his latest speech.
For many weeks now, I have grown… disappointed, and frustrated at the state of things, particularly the state of the conversation, and morose at the lack of intelligence in our national life. I’ve come to understand why our nation is such as it is today. Our elders— those who pass as our leaders have no idea what they want to do. Just so there is no ambivalence to this. I particularly look at the opposition. It really isn’t love of country that drives them. It isn’t really a sense of building something much better, but rather a sense of “what’s in it for me”. Then there are some personalities— driven out by the administration— who have naturally sought to ally themselves with the opposition. Driven by anger, by bitterness they have no idea of the world they want to build, no thought as to its shape and structure and no grounding of what’s real and possible. So they would rather shoot the nation in its foot.
So nothing gets done. Nothing is accomplished.
For three months we have had this supposed conversation on pork barrel and PDAF. We seem to have started to miss the point. For some, they have started to drown with too much information. Taking time to process this information so they drown at it. It is a case of if you look too deeply into the abyss, it starts to look back at you, and you are gripped with inaction because of the depth and scope of the problem.
So we miss the point. As the President said, it is about the thief and it is about the thieves.
Much of our nation’s problem isn’t about the lack of law. So a lot of people believe it is the system that’s flawed. Anyone who has read the COA report on the PDAF can read the heart of the problem. We have laws, the COA wrote but those laws were not executed. So this mess happened.
The problem is a multi-layered one. For the simplest of it— isn’t so much as fixing the system or adding more layers of law— but the solution to the problem, first and foremost is to execute the law. The thieves— or in this case, the alleged thieves need to face justice.
Many argue the government isn’t doing, or doing very little. Building a case isn’t easy. Building a case that doesn’t get thrown out in court isn’t easy. Is it enough what this government has done? At the very least, it is a good start.
That’s what many people fail to grasp. This is a start. The Aquino administration is a start. Not the death and be all, and end all of fighting corruption or “fixing the system”, it is the start to doing that.
Is it a perfect start? No. It is riddled with problems, and riddled with missteps. It is often seen as moving too slow, but it is a start. It is a beginning. The importance of that can not be stressed enough. In building a business for example, the most important step is getting off your butt and starting. Starting.
What most people fail to grasp is the understanding that the granular detail is less important than the general direction. So for corruption, the general direction is throw those who made a mistake to jail. To set an example. To mean business.
The President once gave the analogy that the Philippines is like a rundown house. Roof leaking. Doors, broken, etc. It is easy enough to fix such a house when you have all the monies in the world, but the reality is that the Philippines doesn’t. So sometimes it is patch work. Leaks plugged, and patched. Sometimes it is an industrial strength fix. That’s what should get done today.
Right now, we have a case building around three key people: Senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla. Focus on that. Get them to jail. If down the road the President’s allies happen to have cases built against them, then go for it. That’s what people raving about the DAP can’t seem to focus on, except, “Bakit kami lang? Bakit sila lang?”
If we focus on “Bakit kami lang? Bakit sila lang?” Then we will have a nation that can’t do anything except sit still and make kuwento like bums in the street corner. We will have a nation that shoot itself in the foot. That’s a shame, wouldn’t it?
This is why I am so disappointed.