Immunity to Impunity

Immunity to Impunity

Steal while the stealing is good!
Squeal on your co-conspirators and save your own skin!
Return part of the loot and be free from prosecution!
And perhaps...just perhaps be hailed as a hero!

This is the pattern behind the whistle blowers behaviour and the overarching principle behind the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
In our irreparably disarticulated political landscape, we have politicians who blatantly and shamelessly usurp public office with impunity. Maybe these stoolpigeons are “necessary evils” to get to these Senators and Congressmen and their allies in the bureaucracy who all have betrayed our trust. But this system leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

They are given immunity in exchange for spilling the beans. But do these gentlemen and ladies who all come from the different strata of our society – from the high to the low – really come clean? I don’t see any sign of perturbation or moral guilt; these people admit their involvement in the heinous crime of plunder, arguing though that since they are not the mastermind, they are less guilty. In exchange for their freedom, they surrender vital information and important documents, pieces of evidence relating to the scam, and as such, their names are then removed from list of those accused and reputations deodorized.

Ruby Tuason, a socialite who once worked under Joseph Estrada, returned 5-percent of her commissions or forty million pesos from her involvement in the PDAF scandal. But are we sure her 5% only translates to P40 million. Coming from the elite of Philippine Society, her family can very well afford to raise such amounts effortlessly after she – and presumably her family have already enjoyed the fruits of this plunder for years. Conceivably what she returned could just be the earnings of that plunder.

How about Luy – who had to burn her patron and relative Napoles as presumably the latter caught him working out his own little scheme on the side? Both are now absolved of the crime, legally, that is.

If one remembers well, we have recent whistle blowers, like Jun Lozada, who went on speaking engagements all over the country baring his sins magnificently to audiences; crying his heart out at every turn on his recounting of his passage of atonement, appropriately surrounded by nuns and priests propping and elevating this symbol of a new type of convoluted sainthood.

And now, we are confronted with the possibility that Napoles herself could be co-opted into the WPP.

All these are just the sordid symptoms of the Philippines system of governance.

The basic role of government is to ensure that justice is served. No one is above the law. The guilty is to be punished and the confessed accomplice be directed to pay appropriate recompense. It does not in all conscience make you an angel if you return some loot, cry melodramatically in public and wail your “mea culpas” at every colloquium. We seek the truth, we want the rule of law to reign, but we don’t want someone favoured to go scot-free for they are no less than the same criminals who masterminded the biggest plunder of the state at the expense of our deeply held values and institutions.

Truly I sympathise with their innocent family members splattered by the mud and shame of these deeds. But these can be alleviated. The whistle blowers could perchance emulate the ancient ways of the Japanese bushido. They have the option to commit seppuku or hara-kiri.

The Centrist Democrats must initiate and shape the debate on this.
Read 2206 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 12:39
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