Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now the Philippines’ most notoriously known exploiter of utang na loob, particularly in climbing up the ladder of political power and staying at its topmost rungs.
And so Ms. Arroyo’s congressional lackeys who apparently received and/or distributed the P200,000 to P500,000 bundles of BRIBE MONEY last Thursday, immediately tried to justify themselves after word leaked out about the sordid Congressional-Malacañang affair. They barefacedly referred to it during TV interviews as “Christmas money”, despite the fact that Christmas Day is still more than two months away.
Others called it “a form of help” from their political leaders. Or “remembrance”. Or “send-off gift” (for the boys) whose 2-week congressional break would start the following Monday.
But the contrary facts remain! The enormous (literally and figuratively) “cash gifts” were purportedly for public purposes such as for local “community assistance”. And yet no vouchers were issued or receipts required by the bagmen and bagwomen who did not identify themselves. Nobody came forward to say whose money it was. Or who ordered (but WHO ELSE!?) such a fantastically disordered way of disbursing money, whether it be the people’s or thieves’ money.
Just because he was told that the money could be used for assistance to his poor constituents, Governor Panlilio, a Catholic priest on leave from his sacred ministry, initially and naively (or perhaps HONESTLY), thought that it was NOT IMMORAL for him to have received his P500,000 share of the dole-out, despite the highly suspicious manner of its distribution.
However from now on he should remember to “Beware of GEEKS BEARING GIFTS”!
I sympathize with Governor Panlilio. Moral discernment is relatively much less difficult if one is not personally involved in the moral dilemma faced by recipients of such strange gifts. Governor Panlilio’s example therefore highlights the fact that we who are not materially poor, should have more EMPATHY for our poverty stricken countrymen who accept P500 each from candidates during election campaigns. Five hundred pesos for them would be enough to keep their families away from hunger for at least one week.
But personally for me, Father Panlilio’s priestly example has strengthened my will in pursuing this tedious, unpleasant and perhaps dangerous task of publicly condemning the OBVIOUS corruption, incompetence and immoral ACTUATIONS of our public officials. Hopefully it will also embolden many others to voice their outrage against these odious malpractices among our politicians. AND also hopefully, that it will lead the latter to repentance, reform and RESTITUTION of whatever was stolen, thus obtaining MERCY from the Lord. And so I have not used Christ’s most stinging epithet of “brood of vipers” against them.
Nevertheless His Mystical Body here on earth has long been scourged, crowned with thorns and nailed to the cross of these public officials’ HABITUAL corruption and lies with their pitiful consequences of grinding poverty for tens of millions of our people.