Back in Business

Clearly, the political cockfight we are witnessing right now is not between a red rooster and a white one – or between those who are out to topple the government and those who are defending it. It is not even a fight between the ruling and non-ruling elite. Instead, the fight is within the ruling elite – that is, between those in power and those whose power and influence are waning. The latter happens due to the limited national coffers owing to the economic crisis.

The logical conclusion

It is difficult to imagine at this point where the NBN contract scandal is heading to. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration seems hell-bent on implementing it (even if overpriced by about $130 million), notwithstanding the obvious disadvantage it would bring to the Filipino people.

All the Senate can do is to recommend that the administration rescind the contract. It could not enforce any of the conclusions of its investigations because its inquiries are only in aid of legislation and it cannot legislate to have the contract terminated.

Perhaps it is the Supreme Court (SC) which could stop the contract from being implemented. But the SC cannot look into the involvement of influential people in the administration, such as Mike Arroyo and Benjamin Abalos. It is the Ombudsman’s job to do so. But given the record of the Office of the Ombudsman under Merceditas Gutierrez, it is virtually impossible that it will run after those who attempted to profit from the NBN contract given the power and influence of those involved. In the end, the Filipino people will be burdened with taxes to pay for the overpriced deal. The Ombudsman, in fact, may only end up running after de Venecia.

Although its involvement in corruption and profligacy is also legendary – landing it in the Guinness Book of World Records – what did the Marcos family in was its gross violation of human rights. The Filipino people were so fed up with Martial Law that it ousted the Marcos dictatorship, in spite of the latter’s attempts to suppress all forms of dissent.

The mistake of the Estrada administration, on the other hand, is that it flaunted its profits from gambling and corruption. This triggered People Power II. But actually, jueteng (illegal numbers game) money is loose change, literally and figuratively.

The Arroyo administration is involved in both barefaced corruption and gross violations of human rights – in the form of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and repeated attempts to curtail civil liberties. And more, it is saddled with the issue of illegitimacy and massive electoral fraud during the 2004 and 2007 elections. (

Share This Post