Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Enough with the theatrics

This is my column today June 3, 2014. 


There has to be an objective, fair and less convoluted process to separate the proverbial chaff from the grain, the truth from the lies, in the ongoing national soap opera involving senators, congressmen, cabinet officials, fake non-government organizations, whistleblowers, and Janet Napoles. 
No one among our leaders has been sent to jail, condemned in public, or openly harassed on account of the fact that their precious names and their supposedly priceless reputations have been dragged across muck courtesy of the dreaded list, err, lists.  But at the rate our leaders are bellyaching and caterwauling in public, it would seem as if their hurt egos and the supposed slur on their precious names and reputations are the most important issues in the whole crisis.  Excuse me, senators, congressmen, and cabinet members, but the real victims here are the Filipino people, not yourselves.
I am not saying that people should not react with righteous indignation or vehement denials.  A simple denial and a commitment to set things straight at the right time and at the right venue is certainly called for.  A sober explanation, accompanied by an orderly presentation of facts to debunk files that are obviously inadmissible in court anyway, is probably a dignified way of responding to the issues.
I think many of our leaders are overreacting.  We’ve suddenly witnessed too many Miriam Defensor-Santiago wannabes threatening fire and brimstone and general mayhem. I get iffy everytime someone makes bold dramatic statements such as “congress being decimated” or “government felled on its knees” or “political systems crumbled ” by the Napoles scandal.  Oh sure, I agree that the kind of systemic corruption uncovered by the Napoles scandal is shocking, sickening, and disgusting.  But let’s get serious, we’ve dealt with far worse situations in the past and survived.  Congress will survive this.  In fact, I have a strong feeling many of those implicated will be able to successfully sterilize themselves and fling themselves once again on the voting populace. 
The problem is that everyone, most specially our leaders, are simply reacting to the issues.  No one, it seems, is in control of the situation.  No one - as in nada, zilch.   Certainly not Senate President Franklin Drilon who has suspiciously remained quiet as a mouse.  And certainly not the usually fiesty and ready-to-shoot-from-the-hips Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima.
The crying question that is in people’s minds is simple:  Who the heck is in charge here? What is the game plan to ferret out the truth?  How exactly is Janet Napoles going to be made accountable and when?  How come there is no special commission, or a special court, that has been formed exclusively for the multi-billion scandal if everyone is saying that it is the mother of all scandals?  If there are far too many lists, who will do an analysis and help the people appreciate the real facts so that they are not prone to political tactics?
Even the President has complained that “certain quarters” are muddling and complicating the issues by issuing irresponsible statements and documents. He has conveniently forgotten that it was his own cabinet members that leaked the lists and that many of his allies including those that are implicated in the Napolist are doing their own damage control activities, often issuing conflicting and convoluted statements.  Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has even produced a television ad and launched a full media campaign to counter the allegations and position himself as an anti-corruption crusader, contrary to what Janet Napoles and Benhur Luy claim.  Senators Chiz Escudero and Cynthia Villar, also allies of the President have issued vehement denials that were neither here nor there and did not give clear and credible argument that would make people believe that, yes, they cannot possibly be in cahoots with that Napoles woman.  As it is, the vigorous protestations only make many people believe in their guilt because as the saying goes, kung sino ang umaray, yun ang tinamaan.
We all want answers and the stark-naked truth.  We don’t want the theatrics and the dramatic confrontations; we want an organized, systematic, orderly, fair, sober, professional managing of the crisis. 
Enough already with the telenovela episodes.  It’s time for some serious and deliberate proactive response from our leaders.

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