Wednesday, February 18, 2009

‘Evil taking root in power’

I yield this space today to print the whole statement of the FSGO (former senior government officials) on the occasion of its first anniversary. FSGO, which counts some 80 former cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries as members, was formed on Feb. 16, 2008, where it denounced the attempted abduction of key Senate witness Jun Lozada on the investigation of the NBN-ZTE deal. Since then, FSGO has released several statements on the bad quality of governance, drawing from their own collective experience as practitioners of public administration from the Macapagal I to the Macapagal II presidencies, a period that has spanned two generations and six Malacañang occupants.

The statement is entitled, "A Cry and a Warning: Evil Taking Root in Power".

"We, former senior government officials, rose in alarm and outrage last year when Engineer Jun Lozada was nearly martyred. Many of us were impelled to act against dictatorship by the blood of Ninoy at the tarmac in 1983, and we were again compelled to raise our voices in horror of an attempted kidnapping that could have silenced a whistleblower.

"It has been a year since Jun Lozada decided to bear witness to corruption at the level of the couple Gloria and Miguel Arroyo. And sadly it has been yet another year of governing criminally.

"We cry at the debasement of our democracy. Mrs. Arroyo rode on the backs of people outraged with corruption in order to steal the presidency, and then used her tenuous hold to lie and cheat for a lengthened stay. Mrs. Arroyo remains president in Malacanang without being legitimately elected into office. That alone makes her an affront to our republic born of a free people rising in revolt against stolen elections in 1986. We cry that power over our government and our collective future remains in the hands of an illegitimate leader.
"Our people now look to 2010 as a constitutionally sacred deadline to finally end Mrs. Arroyo’s illegitimate tenure. We warn our people that left unrestricted, illegitimacy has no tenure, that a cheating and lying leader respects no constitutional limits. And we warn our people that the signs are clear – corruption is Mrs. Arroyo’s bribe to remain in power in the past, present and future.

"The corruption we hear, read, and above all, smell everywhere, are the wages of evil in power. Corruption is the currency of Mrs. Arroyo’s administration. Corruption is the price of getting positions of authority, the cost of incompetence in those positions, and the inevitable result of tolerating an illegitimate ruler.

"Corruption is the fertilizer nourishing Mrs. Arroyo’s evil to deepen its roots in our nation’s government. Corruption buys congressional inaction to impeachment and possible complicity with tenure-extending charter change. Corruption is the shopping bags of cash that keep governors and mayors coming to conspiratorial meetings for issuing statements of support. Corruption is the balm for generals’ troubled consciences, at least for those whose hands are still clean enough to retain a conscience. And corruption may eventually buy judicial tolerance to illegal rule and abuse of power, and may even offer incentives strong enough for providing judicial justification to extending that illegitimacy and abuse.

"One year after the exposure of the NBN-ZTE project as a veritable Chinese lauriat of corruption, no Senate report on its investigation has been issued; no Ombudsman case on anyone involved has advanced; no one in the administration has been suspended or fired, except one early retirement to ‘borjer-dom’ and golf heaven in Wack-Wack.

"Contrast the black holes of our institutions for accountability with the rest of the world. Over the past year, foreign institutions and governments have hit at Mrs. Arroyo’s corruption much more vigorously than our own government.

"Joc-joc Bolante, whom Mrs. Arroyo encouraged to escape abroad, was returned to the Senate by US authorities;

"Mrs. Arroyo’s appointed police generals, allowed to travel abroad with obscene amounts of euros in cash in their carry-on luggage, were exposed by Russian authorities;

"Mrs. Arroyo’s favored public works contractors, colluding with DPWH fixers to defraud our people, were formally sanctioned by the World Bank;

"And governments, investors, academics, and ordinary people around the world generated perceptions, experiences, and indicators that ranked corruption in the Philippines among the worst in the world.

"Filipinos themselves judge Mrs. Arroyo’s administration the most corrupt ever in their memories of other corrupt administrations. Corruption orchestrated by Gloria and Miguel Arroyo is more rampant, more deep-seated, larger scale, and ultimately more nefarious than anything we Filipinos have experienced. It uses corruption to keep power and uses power to pursue corruption in a self-reinforcing racket that perpetuates evil in power.

"In this year of global crisis, nations all over the world are turning to their governments to protect their collective welfare and sustain their productive capacities against the onslaught of a terrible global contraction in financial resources and economic demand. The Philippines cannot escape the ravages of the ongoing global decline in credit, investment, production, and consumption. Unfortunately, the government under Mrs. Arroyo offers nothing. To our fears of economic insecurity, Mrs. Arroyo mouths assurances as false as ‘I will not run’ in 2002 or ‘I am sorry’ in 2005. To our hopes of public action to mitigate private pains, Mrs. Arroyo merely lays out more pork, more patronage, and yet more opportunities for corruption that enriches only her coterie of conspirators against our democracy.

"We are witnessing the inevitable consequences of corruption becoming the currency of governing. Selfish and self-serving motivations crowd out the rule of law, devotion to public good, and pursuit of sustainable development. Everything is considered from the standpoint of what can be stolen by those in power; hence, all decisions and actions are driven by corruption. For example, corruption infests the enforcement of laws against illegal drugs, then infests the criminal justice system where such cases are brought, and infests public policy where Mrs. Arroyo as anti-drug mini-czar orders drug tests of students as prime measure to fight the breakdown of law enforcement against drug lords.

"We will not have a useful or effective government unless we root out corruption in its brains, muscles and bones. And the tumor that is Mrs. Arroyo’s evil at the center of power is growing daily, corrupting everything in its path to stay in power today, tomorrow, and tomorrow. And yet another year of governing criminally."


As postscript to the above statement, and as mirror of the wretchedness the country has sunk into, read this report which was forwarded to us by faithful reader Ferdinand P., and weep: A hospital in eastern Philippines is opening up its residency program to doctors from impoverished Nepal to address a shortage of Filipino physicians. Some 40 Nepalese doctors are vying to be admitted at the state-run Bicol Medical Centre in Naga City, where they will be assigned to departments including pediatrics, surgery and internal medicine.

The Nepalese doctors are supposed to undertake their residency in Philippine hospitals, but an officer-in-charge of the hospital said some of the foreign doctors may be asked to extend their stay to help solve "the severe shortage of doctors in government hospitals." Another government hospital is considering taking in more than 30 Nepalese doctors.

About 1,000 Nepalese doctors look for residency each year in medical facilities across Asia based on the US system to sharpen their skills and because there are only a few hospitals in their country. We have many hospitals, public and private, for a huge population. Problem is, we are now experiencing a shortage of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. How has this come to pass?

Exodus, that’s what. Since the year 2000, some 11,000 Filipino doctors have gone back to school to retrain as nurses, according to the Philippine Medical Association. Most of them have landed jobs as nurses in North America.

If Dona Gloria y su esposo continue in power, time will come when the only medical professionals left in the country are those at St. Luke’s, but their services will not be affordable to you and me. Only crooks in government and their contractors and "runners" will be able to afford them.