Sowing the wind, reaping the whirlwind

Posted at 03/03/08 11:29 AM


Vampires in the guise of public officials who have sucked the lifeblood and resources of the country have been sowing the wind.  Soon, they will reap the whirlwind.


For some time now, the anger of the people against corruption in government has been building up. First, there was the P700-million fertilizer scam, followed by the squander of the P34 billion in Marcos accounts recovered from the Swiss banks, the Jose FG Pidal accounts, the North and South Rail Projects, DepEd textbook scam, Comelec computer scandals, the Comelec Mega Pacific computers, and lately the ZTE/NBN contract. And so on, ad nauseaum.

The rallies started in Makati. Now these are spreading throughout the country. No day passes without a protest rally being announced in major centers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Among the universities, De la Salle University set the pace by giving sanctuary to Jun Lozada and starting the masses. The great Manila universities quickly followed—Ateneo de Manila, University of Santo Tomas and various colleges in the University of the Philippines.

Not to be outdone, Silliman University in far off Dumaguete issued its statement and call for resignation on February 14, one day before the first big Makati rally. What’s more, it was issued by the entire university community—faculty, staff, and students.

On February 27, the UP Diliman University Council, composed of assistant, associate and full professors, issued its statement, "GMA must go!" The Council stated, "When GMA is caught lying, she either stonewalls or orders an investigation which churns out prefabricated results. These actions are in stark contrast with two objectives. which are cherished by the University—getting at the truth and forging a democratic society . Both are obviously anathema to GMA….As an academic community we know that the truth cannot be found in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo…GMA must go!"

At the U.P. National College of Public Administration, students studying PA 235, Fiscal Policy and Development invited the man whose powerful privilege speech on the NBN/ZTE triggered the Senate investigations : Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson. The Assembly Hall of the College was jampacked with U.P. students, faculty and staff, as well as hundreds of students from the University of Caloocan City, New Era University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and professors from the National College of Business Administration. The crowd spilled over into the parking lot.

Sen. Lacson detailed the large-scale cases of corruption during the GMA administration. For three hours students engaged him in a no-holds barred discussion focusing on the theme, "Wala nga bang Co-Corrupt"? Lacson later on recounted to Korina Sanchez that he was so moved by the passion of the students for truth that he decided to join the Makati rally the next day.

In the Bible, the prophet Hosea warned Israel of God’s wrath: "…Israel has rejected what is good….They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval, with their silver and gold they make idols for themselves…They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind."

Vampires in the guise of public officials who have sucked the lifeblood and resources of the country have been sowing the wind. Soon, they will reap the whirlwind.

More on invisible governance

I have been reviewing big cases of corruption across administrations. So far, I have gone as far back as the Diosdado Macapagal administration. I have looked at seven cases, ranging from the Harry Stonehill case which nearly brought down the administration of that time, to the present NBN/ZTE case. The long-running IMPSA case involving three Philippine administrations and two Argentinian governments has all the ingredients of invisible governance—people who are not part of the formal organization making policy decisions, bargaining about bribes, and depositing their money abroad.

With the exception of the Aquino administration, the cases exhibit similar characteristics:

1. absence of the seven indicators of governance formulated by Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption;

2. the president was linked to these cases;

3. the cases exhibit similar, if not identical characteristics;

4. the cases indicate the presence of "invisible governance ";

5. the cases involved foreign corporations and foreign governments

Most of the programs aimed at controlling corruption are directed towards those who are part of formal or visible governance. Those who are in "invisible governance" go scot free. The public does not even know them, as in the case of the "Greedy Four" of the ZTE/NBN contract. If those in "invisible governance" are not exposed and punished, corrupt practices will persist and this social cancer cannot be excised.