Pots calling kettles black pretty much summarises the all-too-familiar mudslinging that characterises the political “debate” Filipinos keep their small minds occupied with nowadays. Between the Aquino-Cojuangco bloc, the mansions and SUVs of disgraced police chief Alan Purisima, and the overpriced buildings of 2016 “presidentiable” and current Vice President Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay there does not seem to be a single camp that puts a fundamentally different proposition to the Filipino people on the table.
Indeed, the issue of corruption — all allegations based on hearsay information for now, it should be noted — ebbs and flows as a central argument at the convenience of the characters that frame this “debate”. Corruption and winnability seem to be playing Filipinos’ minds like a tag team.
As recently as early September of this year, GRP writer Paul Farol had already pointed out how presidential sister Kris Aquino had been using her programs on top Philippine broadcast network ABS-CBN to baldly campaign for Vice President Jojo Binay. Interestingly, he asks at the time of that writing “Why hasn’t ABS-CBN come up with an investigative report on Binay’s hidden wealth?”
Fast forward to today, and we see an ABS-CBN front page vastly different from what Farol likely saw less than 30 days ago…
[Image captured 09 Oct 2014 1756H AEDST.]
All of a sudden ABS-CBN is crawling with Binay-this-Binay-that stuff. How quickly the political winds shift in the Philippines! Within a month, Binay’s alleged corrupt ways went from being a non-issue to being front-and-centre in the typically vacuous national “debate”. Farol recalls in that 1st September article a Facebook conversation he had with Inquirer columnist Jose Montelibano, “When I asked Montelibano about whether it bothered him that there were a lot of allegations of corruption against Binay, he merely brushed it off…”
So what is the central issue defining how people might choose come election day in 2016?
Is it about winnability? Or is it about corruption?
If it weren’t for the bizarreness of how Kris Aquino once endorsed the Binays as a presidentiable for 2016, the hypocrisy of it all, by itself, would have been noteworthy enough. But the irony of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan being feudal lords over one of — if not the — biggest fiefdoms in the Philippines, the sprawling Hacienda Luisita, seems to have been conveniently flown over the heads of a people now fixated on the media and Congressional circus focused on Binay’s “unexplained” wealth.
And considering the way former Chief Justice Renato Corona was crucified on the back of dubious evidence presented by prosecutors in his impeachment trial in 2012, it is funny how certain apologists now beg that the public excuse police chief Alan Purisima for partaking in some million-peso “favours” on account of the measly salary Filipino taxpayers pay him. The thinking of said apologists being that the job of police chief entails a certain entitlement to perks befitting said job’s prestige and responsibility. And so guys like Purisima are owed million-peso perks, because “government people with big responsibilities can’t hold their heads high on what they get paid.”
As we’ve long pointed out giving credit to observations made almost a decade and a half ago by “an admired Filipino economist, based in New York”; the national debate, she had observed even back then, “are droll and unintelligent, focused on the trivial or the irrelevant.” The author of that seminal piece went on to take apart the “bases for [that economist’s] disenchantment”:
When the issues are of some significance, it’s the wrong arguments that prevail, the wrong side wins. Logic and common sense take the backseat to political arguments and the views of the poorly-educated.
That was written back in 2000. And so we see the Philippines today in 2014, fourteen years hence. Paatras ang asenso.
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