The 144-page Ombudsman resolution charging former election chief Benjamin Abalos and SSS Administrator Romulo Neri with anti-graft law violation in connection with the botched $329 Million ZTE-NBN broadband project while exonerating other most likely key players was a typical “out of the box” resolution, predictable and foreseeable and nary a soul should be surprised about the concoction. The mighty and the powerful are always above the law and are immune from prosecution though our people remain as clueless as before.
The Marcoses and their cronies were back in circulation after their grand plunder of the treasury and former President Joseph Estrada (Erap) is rearing for a comeback in Malacanang after being given a furlough for his own plunder. These are grim reminders that justice in the country is meted out only to the powerless plebeians or expendable pawns of the powerful. Secretary Neri and Ex-Chairman Abalos are lesser officials in this big power game. If someone is somewhat delighted that the Ombudsman came up with two people to charge with the purported offense, he will find that elation ephemeral, for in the labyrinth of judicial process, these seemingly deserted and lonesome pawns can eventually get cleared, or if misshapen mishap does occur, what is there to prevent the new administration to extend them a “pardon?”. But for now, we cheer or jeer depending on where we are in this great political divide at this crudest form of charade and entertainment.
We are incorrigible gullible of the subtlety of court proceedings and have a fantastic aberration for due process while other cultures, would resolve matters of this nature through the ballots or in a more honorable way of “hara-kiri” or quitting the office. Apparently we cannot trust the electorate to punish these deviant creatures in our bureaucracy because we keep electing them back to office. Do not look now, but you may have Erap again as President or Bongbong Marcos as your Vice President. We cannot trust our politicians too to do a “seppuku” or simply resign the office because it is not part of our psyche that we appease public outrage by doing the most honorable thing to do, quit our privilege position or end our shameful life.
The motley of charlatans in our bureaucracy will swear to the bible that the uncharitable characterization of their persons were “trump-up” and “totally baseless” and would like to clear their names in a proceeding where honorable prosecutors and/or magistrates preside. Some good public servants suffer the same humiliation because of the perception that they all belong to the same genre of crooked office holders. The prosecutors and the judges that will process those haled to court are themselves corrupt. This provides constant paradox that amazes us no end. If you were unlucky to find a corrupt prosecutor or judge that is looking into your case, you will be lucky enough to find that his virtue of predictability can work in your favor.
In another sense, those who wanted the crooks in the government punished, are not sinless angels with impeccable credentials either. One, is a scion of a Marcos regular during martial law whose elder was dethroned from speakership and another who have milked the government too of some small change in the past who decided to make it big but for the sharing-of-the-loot equation that went tawdry. They enlisted the support of a score of nuns and yes, bishops too, to end the rule of a very rapacious regime and offer substitute in the likes Erap, Escudero, Villar of the C5 fame or even a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Our concept of justice is an unending paradox. We want a set of brigands punished by bringing them to court or to public ridicule so we can replace them with another set of brigands.
Look at this as another paradox: Erap was found guilty of plunder and the Marcoses were perceived to be plunderers. Mssrs. Abalos and Neri were allegedly attempting at plunders. Erap and the Marcoses are riding the crest of public adulation while we excoriate Neri and Abalos for their attempt at plunder. Our sense of justice is warped and we are very funny people!