March 3, 2008
Jun Lozada, as he himself admitted, was an unwilling witness, before he was “abducted” at the airport. He might turn out to be an unintended hero should the quest for truth succeed, despite the indiscretions he committed during his stint with the government. Secretary Romulo Neri, on the other hand, is not a mean soul but is now being portrayed as a villain — unpatriotic and unprincipled. The ZTE-NBN controversy has made household names of a number of people — Lozada, Madriaga, Abalos, Atienza, Defensor, Razon, Gaite, Atutubo, etc. — heroes or heels depending on which side of the political fence you belong. Most of them I am sure would have chose not to have been dragged in this scandal if they had a choice. Some of them have solid reputations until they were forced to get involved because it was part of their jobs. They were therefore made to suffer the consequences of their actions for a problem that was not of their own making. They had to save the Queen.
The ZTE-NBN scandal though is reflective of how things have been going on but although in a big way. We have a government that is governed not by rules, not by what is right and what is wrong, but by influence and partisan considerations. The controversies that have beset the administration both at the local and national level speak of a pattern of how power and influence are used to protect personal interests. The controversy that hounded the PNP because of its inability to immediately effect the relief of OIC-Regional Director PS/Supt. Ballingi Tira here in the Bicol Region manifested how influential individuals can hold hostage public good because of their ties with the powers that be. Pundits say that PS/Supt Tira’s stay was an indication of how influential Cong. Villafuerte is, the “impeachment lawyer” of PGMA, with the present dispensation. I am almost quite certain that had then Chief PNP Oscar Calderon had his way, RD Tira would not have stayed a minute longer after he defied the orders of his superiors. Beyond former Chief PNP Calderon, the authority of the PNP as an institution was impaired through no fault of its own. And to think that they also just only wanted to do their jobs. The rule of law was sacrificed for those who saved the Queen.
Sadly, beyond those who hold the reigns of power now are the institutions of government whose importance are beyond 2010. The people’s confidence on these institutions have been eroded. It will take some doing before they can be restored. Will electing a new king do it?