|DIE HARD III|
|Herman Tiu Laurel|
I was happy with Eric Espina’s regular 50-minute GNN (Global News Network) public affairs show last Tuesday, where he had a special and very interesting guest. Former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales appeared for the first time since the end of the Edsa II regime that extended beyond the normal term of an administration. With a self-conscious and put-on soft-spokeness to sound wise and fair, Gonzales commented on what he says are growing ills of society. Playing ostensibly unaware or “dedma” that he was part of nine years of governance that had aggravated those very problems, he seemed to discount any personal responsibility and, in a very deft way, blamed “The System,” saying, “I see a lot of good leaders in the country but they have to accept corruption because of the ‘system.’” He mouthed this as if the “system” would persist if there were no people sustaining or feeding on it.
This column has been a dedicated critic of the “system,” too; but it also recognizes that the rotten system would not have survived one more day if there were no avaricious powerful forces commanding morally and intellectually weak opportunists manning it. What is the system that prevails in this country today? It is one which everybody describes as corrupt; it is one that spawns deep and growing poverty, leading to heightened internal conflict and criminality, and culminates in a decaying society.
By saying that no person is at fault, Gonzales would like to fool the people into thinking that the “system” is an evil computer brain that operates by itself and runs every corrupt operation that is causing government and corporatist corruption, poverty, moral collapse, jueteng, drug smuggling, the passage of corrupt laws (such as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or Epira), or billing power and water consumers with price gouging rates, ad nausea.
By blaming the system, Gonzales is merely entertaining delusions of having no personal responsibility at all — despite being one of the closest and most powerful confidants of Gloria Arroyo, whose nine years of governance were marked by massive swindles — from the Epira, the expanded value added tax (eVAT) expansions, the Impsa/Fertilizer/NBN-ZTE and countless other scams, the 2004 massive election cheating, the first Basilan massacre in 2007, the Angelo Reyes-General Garcia looting of the military’s coffers, the MoA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain) deal with the Malaysians and the US, to a litany of grave deeds that resulted in the highest hunger and poverty rates in the country beginning 2006. All these continue to this day and are aggravated by the present Malacañang occupants who have the same policies as Arroyo.
Thus, if we were to go by Gonzales’ logic, even the present BSA III government he criticizes should not be blamed for the many crises now arising.
After all, wouldn’t the “system” be to blame for the Luneta hostage massacre in 2010 and not BSA III himself or the city mayor who treated him to siopao at Emerald Garden while the hostage taker was running amuck?
Or, was it simply a computer glitch that made our GDP (gross domestic product) growth fall to a disastrous 3.7 percent for the whole of 2011? Was it merely a glitch in the system of the PCOS machines in the 2010 elections that prompted UP and Ateneo IT experts to discover extraneous software apparently used in the machine counting and the duplicate sites in transmission?
At the risk of getting too far ahead in history, we only need to go back to Edsa II in 2001 when the Constitution was trashed. Did the Rule of Law go to the trash bin all by itself, leading to the Rule of Force and then of Money, as evidenced by the approval of the Epira and other pro-Big Business laws by Congress?
Voicing real concern for the Filipinos’ travails should not be soft-spoken anymore but an explosive burst of indignation. The rotten system persists because there are rotten people who sustain it by collaborating, abetting, and aiding it in order to attain selfish aspirations of power and opulence amid growing want. One only needs to look at the some military generals’ family, some Nynoy justices, or Congress, who have used power to profit massively; or those who have endorsed manifold evils, like what Lacson did in condoning the 2004 Comelec fraud, or Congress taking pork barrel and corporatist money (for the Epira); or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas pushing unnecessary debt; or the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission giving free rein to oil and power companies to plunder consumers massively, ad infinitum.
Who are those rotten people manning the “system?” From Malacañang decision makers to Congress and the Senate, to the top honchos in the judiciary, to the generals in the military and police hierarchy, to the top execs of the Makati Business Club, to the top operators of “civil society,” all these comprise the core of the rotten system. But are there alternatives to these? In other words, are there still good people around to man “a healthy system?”
I can think of countless of them working selflessly, like Mang Naro Lualhati and Jojo Borja among many others in the crusade against electricity plunder; Alan Paguia sacrificing for Rule of Law; Bono Adaza opposing constitutional abuse in the Corona impeachment case; many Freedom from Debt Coalition members who are fighting debt slavery; our Sulo group volunteers; the Tribune; and millions of ordinary Filipinos who ONLY need new, fresh leadership to break through.
Listen again: It’s the rotten people that keep the system rotten.
(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on “RP’s geopolitical challenge;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)
Source: The Daily Tribune