Let me start by noting that for years Filipino's have been demanding more accountability from their elected officials. They have complained bitterly about endemic corruption and the environment that promotes and encourages self-serving leaders, politicians and political dynasties. As an outsider I have been thrilled and excited to witness the beginning of the change in this attitude of acceptance of corruption. In 2010 the people of the Philippines finally elected a rare beast as their President - an honest man! Now that this attitude of non-acceptance of corruption and self-service is becoming part of our everyday life - it beggars belief that people are now complaining about "selective justice" and "demolition jobs" on public figures. Corruption is Corruption - wherever it exists. If someone is demonstrably corrupt, why would you rush to their defense and claim bias or self-interest on the part of the inquisitors. Whatever their motives for exposing particular instances of corruption - it doesn't change the basic fact that corruption allegations need to be answered - they cannot just be brushed off as political chicanery.
NOBODY is above the law - PNoy has been adamant about that - and that includes everyone. The Supreme Court this week dismissed Sandiganbayan Senior Justice Gregory Ong for conduct unbecoming a Justice. What a fantastic move on the part of the Supreme Court. SC Chief Justice Sereno has always maintained there must be integrity in the Justice System and has acted swiftly to prove this is the case - Kudos to the Supreme Court and long may you continue to lead the way. It is marvelous that the Chief Justice is determined to operate at a higher level of integrity than the rest of society, because she firmly believes that is what is necessary to maintain the public trust in the Judiciary. This country is very fortunate to have a young Chief Justice at the helm who will be able to imprint her own personal integrity on the judicial system for many years to come.
If we look at the particular issue that seems to have riled my Facebook "friend" - the Senate Inquiry into the over-priced Makati Parking Building (For despite claims to the contrary that is essentially what it really is - just a parking building, with a few floors of offices on top), we can evaluate what the inquiry has determined to date. First and foremost - NO clear, right thinking person can possibly argue that this building was not over-priced. Numerous experts have testified that this 2.8B peso building should have cost no more than 1.2B pesos. The building is not "green" (as claimed) - it is not "world-class (as claimed) and it is certainly nothing more than an average building, finished to an average standard. This has been independently verified by several quantity surveyors and valuers. So, what happened to the extra 1.6B pesos?
The question therefore has to be this: Is the management of Makati City corrupt or is the management of Makati City incompetent? Either way - it is unacceptable to the people of Makati City and indeed the people of The Philippines. We have heard other testimony at the inquiry that suggests that there was an systemic environment of corruption within Makati under the Binay family. Much of that evidence has yet to be tested, so although compelling I will ignore it at this point. Remember though that we heard sworn testimony from a building contractor who stated unequivocally that his company had NEVER bid on any Makati City Government project ever and yet we discover his company listed as a losing bidder in a number of projects (Food for thought certainly).
Might I humbly suggest that if you think you are going to be ambushed by the likes of Senators Cayetano (and he is pretty sharp) or Trillanes, you bring your Father along for support. To date the committee has shown the greatest of respect for the position of Vice-President and refused to subpoena him. In fact, I should commend the committee chairman Senator Pimintel for his control and restraint during a difficult inquiry. You and your Father would make a fantastic statement to the people (that you both serve), by fronting up together next Thursday (Give it some thought).
But, then what do I know - I'm just a foreigner :-) and darling, I promise this is my last political blog...............................................................................................until next time (hehehe).