26 January 2007
Governemnt officials even at the highest levels are Filipinos. And being Filipinos, they are not immune from that world-renowned stariray (star-struck) character of the Filipino.
"I approved it myself!" crowed Nicodemo Ferrer, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner, to reporters.
Earlier, COMELEC poll chief Benjamin Abalos came out to personally schmooz with the boxer-cum-Pinoy-folk-hero Manny Pacquiao who paid the poll official a "courtesy call" at the Manila head office of the COMELEC most likely to help fast-track his 20 applications for exemption from a firearms prohibition that came into effect on the 15th of January (in preparation for the coming general elections).
That's right, no less than 20 applications!! And, according to Ferrer, "aprub agad!!" ("approved immediately"). Too bad for the ordinary rich Filipino. Apparently Pacquiao's millions are more golden than the average Pinoy tycoon's cash. Even more disturbing, Pacquiao's relatives seem to be more precious than the average Mr. Ong's or Mr. Tan's sons and daughters.
Like everything else in the Philippines, "special" Filipinos get preferential treatment. Hardly surprising anymore in a society that does not even pretend to be egalitarian despite its delusions of democracy. It is the height of irony that all this transpired within the head office of the very government agency charged with admnistering one of the core political exercises that underpins democracy. GMANewsTV reported Ferrer's observation that:
[...] with Pacquiao's current stature and earnings from his ring conquests, it was deemed necessary that his application was approved.
That brings to question the plight of the average poor little rich Filipinos with a bit of money to spare on private armies that may be a bit more modest in size compared to Pacquiao's. Indeed, life is not fair, specially when you are a Filipino. Now it is not fair even if you are a rich one. Whereas in the past, rich folk were equally priviledged, today the masses' pet is the apple in they eyes of the truly powerful.
The Filipino masses' ability to demonstrate their own brand of tyranny has often been felt in national elections. Now it is being channeled through their civilian representatives. It is easy to foresee that someday in the future (if it is not already happending) the sewage and garbage routinely dumped by Manila's squatters into our rivers and stormdrains will eventually seep into the water supply of the rich. But it is more difficult to foresee just how much of a more potent weapon democracy becomes as the masses get better at wielding it. The hordes of showbiz personalties already infesting the Philippine Government it seems is but a small sample of the degree by which democracy can be perverted.
2007 is an election year. The only achievement so far observed in Philippine society is how efficiently Filipinos have progressively shortened the time between the point where an election is first kicked off and the point where its degeneration into a circus is all but complete.
Look who's laughing all the way to the bank:
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