There are scandals aplenty in the Philippines as always, and the First Family is being attacked right and left. I was already out of the Philippines when the incumbent became President by virtue of the EDSA Revolution III. It unseated a popular president after allegations of graft and corruption were hurled against the former movie actor. Now it appears that the same charges are being hurled against the Incumbent.
This is a very political family. The current President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is actually the daughter of a former President of the Republic herself. (My late father-in-law served in that Macapagal as Secretary of Education, but had later resigned due to differences with the policies of the then ruling administration.) While the so-called First Gentleman has no position, elected nor appointed, Mrs. Arroyo’s son is an elected Congressman of the House of Representatives. Some whistle blowers are touting him to have been the recipient of multi-million peso bribes. The new allegations have revived former exposes in the Senate, this time, of the First Gentleman’s accounts under an assumed name, which reportedly saw the latter receiving huge sums of dirty money as well.
It’s a never-ending soap opera. And as many lament, the victim, in the end is the Filipino. But that’s not the point of my post here. I just read today that the younger Arroyo has taken a leave of absence from the House of Representatives to allow for an impartial probe. I personally do not like the guy but I must say that whether this is just all part of a “moro-moro” or something he felt he was inclined to do out of delicadeza, I believe Mikey Arroyo did the right thing by stepping aside and allowing his peers to investigate him and clear his name of any wrongdoing.
At the same time, I am not too optimistic about the outcome of this so-called investigation. Politics is a dirty business but it’s mud dirty in the Philippines. You literally have to have the stomach to take all the dirt they will throw at you, as well as the unfair and sleazy dealings associated with any office in the land.
This administration, like the others before it, will hang on to power even if they have to die for it. And it’s not just the money — there’s family pride and honor at stake here. Oh, forget about honor — pride alone will suffice to make the powers-that-be move heaven and earth to perpetuate their legacy — be it good or bad.
I can fill post after post about how bad I hear things are back home. My own family still lives there so I know of it firsthand. Even friends whom I thought were prospering or doing well despite the economic downturn are contemplating if not planning on leaving the Philippines to start anew and seek out a better life outside of the country. I have no proposals to solve the bigger problem of poverty so let me stop here.
It is heavy on the heart but I still look back to Manila as my one true home — even if love and family have made me start a new one here in the big apple. I am reminded of a friend’s declaration that if he were to go the consulting route, he would go back to the Philippines and offer his services to the country for free, after advancing and nurturing a successful career in the US Navy here. I do not have that big a heart but I wish more of the people in power had that in their minds and hearts — maybe then, we wouldn’t have to take so many leaves of absence just to give the investigators a freehand, because if there was less graft and corruption, there wouldn’t be any investigations.
Kelan kaya tayo aabot doon?