Tuesday, May 20, 2008
News has it that nine rebel officers previously sentenced for the 2003 oakwood mutiny and sought for pardon were granted release from detention. congratulations! here's my tribute: an old piece of commentary which i haven't posted yet, but hopefully will serve as a reference to the infamous event. or a piece of nostalgia, for the waxing sentimental, haha.:)
Recent juggling of surreal events in the Philippine political circus led to the resurfacing in the Filipinos’ consciousness of the tentacles of political corruption, not in the Malacañang or in Congress, but not too set off to boggle our collective wild imagination: corruption in the military. While corruption is Webster-defined as “inducement to wrong by improper and unlawful means,” it cannot be denied that here in these islands, the most popular, most decadent, and most-often referred-to form is that which systematically infests the government and the bureaucracy at-large. I have taken to light the corruption in the military department, lest the short-memory-span suffering people begin to embed in their subconscious the decay emanating from this organized impairment of moral integrity when the ongoing Jose Pidal and Panfilo Lacson corruption cases finally get the better of their forgetfulness.
265 mutinous soldiers accused the Arroyo administration of corruption in a 22-hour standoff in Makati City last July 27, 2003. They demanded that President Macapagal-Arroyo “step down”, and accuse corruption among higher officials and those running the military. They never hoped to succeed in toppling the government and even faced the possibility of dying.
These mutinous soldiers who seized Makati last July 28 spilled the beans that star-rank officials are in the thick of corruption, among other allegations. In fact, recently resigned Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes was accused of being a “merchant of death” because of unscrupulous selling of armament and ammunitions to the enemies of the government like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and like rebels. In his master’s thesis at the premier University of the Philippines, Lt. Sgt. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the leaders of the Oakwood putsch, proved that corruption in the form of lagay (grease money), under-the-table negotiations, padding and others is rampant in the military. Such an expose, although the nation has grown incredulous about the immaculate cleanliness of the military points an unerring finger at the common knowledge on widespread corruption even in this government department.
The war in Mindanao has been present for more than 35 years now. No matter how great the efforts of the government troops are to eliminate rebels and war in Mindanao, war is still ongoing. This is because of the alleged fact that the military is even the one sustaining them with ammunitions. Bullets of the military are found embedded in the dead bodies of military men. This just clearly shows that there are unscrupulous practices in the military. Top military officials are selling weapons and armaments for the benefit of money without even thinking of the harm this may cause their own brothers in the military.
Military corruption is relative to naked ambitions. Self-serving interests such as wielding material power, gaining access, to sensitive intelligence, maintaining private armies and the like will have to be supported financially, hence the likelihood of military men to resort to corruption in the military where funds are alluringly teeming (government’s big budget for defense as opposed to less budget for education will attest to that). For unprincipled excesses of ambitious leaders, military corruption becomes a strong foundation, as witnesses in the history of the universally relevant pre-imperial Roman Republic.
Power intoxicates, so corrupt military men shamelessly hold on to their “life-giving” ambitions to sustain such power. They got so entangled in the filthy system that they find it hard to seek way out, under the risk of getting liquidated or exposed to the public. In effect, they chose the lesser, more enjoyable evil of riding the crest of corruption, raking in more money than most of us will earn in a lifetime by engaging in various military mal-practices that spell lots and lots of money which can be translated to power and influence.
In conclusion, the corruption in the military has reached a point where it is putting us into a shameful limelight in the international community. If it does in the global case, how much more on our moral integrity as a nation? We may not be a part of it, but by remaining apathetic on such a grave misconduct unbecoming of public officials, we are not only tolerating corruption, but also sending a wrong signal that we are actually relishing this sadomasochistic affinity with this bureaucratic decadence. If we pass it off as “not our problem,” then whose problem is it?