It was a long wait. Was it two years? And now Joc-Joc Bolante, the alleged “mastermind” of that “fertilizer scam” issue is finally here. And just like our “very optimistic” expectation before that Romulo Neri will spill the beans on the NBN-ZTE broadband scandal, I must say that we are none the wiser to assume that we can ever get something out of Joc-Joc’s mouth or head. If it took him two years to evade questioning, what guarantee do we have that the man came back here after much “reflection” of the grave offense he has done to this country and its people? So the guy did not tell the truth, what were you expecting, really?
Personally, I think we simply gave the man a chance to fabricate and weave a “good” story that would be fool-proof or looking at it from a different angle, we may have just given the guy a chance to “toughen” himself up and train himself to lie straight-faced. Two years is a long time, and mind you, for some people, guilt feelings wear-off over time. And for all we know, that is exactly what happened to Joc-Joc. We should have been more vigilant, more persistent and more “concerned” to not have let two years pass us by without grilling the guy while the guilt feelings might still be there and where “Freudian slips” may have given us the truth we’ve always wanted to know. There’s an adage appropriate for that — ah, yes. “Strike while the iron is hot.” So now, however you strike the guy, there’s no way you can mold him to what you want because he’s now “too tough” for any possible “strike”. Our senators can grill him all they want, stress him out, scrape-off his ulcers, turn him backwards and inside out and hang him by a pole for all he cares, but the guy — to my mind — will never “talk” or “sing” for that matter.
So what’s the lesson for today? “Carpe diem” — seize the day, seize the moment my dear fellow countrymen. As soon as an irregularity, scam, scandal, “mess” or anything similar to that are discovered, “strike while the iron is hot.” In our court of law (by “our”, I mean the Philippines, yes!) “justice delayed is justice denied“, right? Oh, I could quote all “sayings” applicable for this case but you get the drift, right?
And so, as always, I am utterly disappointed with the way things are in this country. But most of all, I am disappointed with our countrymen. Why with our fellowmen? And why not with our politicians, you ask? Come on. Our politicians and the entire scheme of politics in general in this country is, by default, always to blame. We know that already, right? The internet is littered with blogs that detest the government. The streets are littered with protesters who shout tirelessly everyday into their megaphones, airing their
disgust with the government. Radio and TV commentaries recite a lithany of government inequities by the minute. Yes, the government is to blame for all this. We know that already, right? But have we ever, in the silence of our hearts, absent the amusement of reading political blogs bashing the government, absent the noise of street protests, and absent the loud volume of radio commentaries — have we “reflected” — or if that’s too heavy a word for you, have we at least “thought of” — even in passing — of the significant role we play in the so-called “grand scheme of things”? Perhaps, we too, are at fault. Perhaps, we have been “negligent”, a bit “apathetic”, slightly “carefree” or a wee bit “tolerant” of little “irregularities” that eventually lead to large-scale corruption. Now I don’t need to do the lecturing, I’m not a saint nor a preacher. I am just sharing thoughts that I think are somehow absent in many of us now. We are too focused on putting the blame on the government, of pointing the accusing finger — not realizing that four of our fingers are pointing at us. Corruption, in my opinion, like “tango” (yes, the dance) takes two people for it to actually happen. And by two, I don’t mean two people who are both corrupt from the get go. For corruption to happen, the other party is initially a non-corrupt one who, either over time or because of a certain need or circumstance gets pushed to a seemingly hard, thick wall with no other option but to give in to the other party’s (the corrupt one’s) demands. Or at least, that’s what the non-corrupt party thinks — that there’s no option but to give in. But in reality, there is. There’s always an option. The real problem lies in that person’s strength of conviction — to do what’s right or to do what’s easy? to do what’s good for the individual or what’s good for the country? And that’s where “character” comes in — “values” that you hold on to, that no matter what happens, you swear to do what’s right.
We can never move forward as a nation as long as the shadow of corruption haunts us. But we can do something about it now. We have a choice. The real problem now lies in our character. Do you want this country to cast corruption away and banish it forever? Then make that conscious choice. You. Me. Everyone. Let’s make that choice. And we’ll see our country soar to great heights in no time.