All of the bishops in the PCSO scandal, with the exception of one, have proven that they have been true to their selfless service to their flock and did not, in anyway, took donations from PGMA for their own comfort and capricious enjoyment. Bishop Pueblos has apologized for his moment of weakness. That self effacing act from someone high up in the church hierarchy is truly noble and commendable although, it seems that even to this day his beholdenment to a particular benefactor still remains. Only he, in his conscience, can make a judgment on its propriety or perhaps the views of his peers can help him resolve this personal matter.
Now the moving finger points and it has made stops at the tactlessness of Margie Juico of PCSO, the mischievous semantics of media to evolve a read-worthy story and even the incumbent president himself, P’noy who is now portrayed as a vindictive and villainous anti-church, pro RH Bill president. And having pointed, the finger left indelible stains on all that it has touched.
Margie Juico has denied vehemently her having uttered the word “Pajero” in reference to the vehicles that were donated to the bishops. She said that it might have been one of her staff who might have referred to the SUVs as Pajero, as a generic term for these sports vehicles and that this might have been picked up by media and came up with a clever turn of phrase “Pajero bishops” to embellish the story. If they were referred to as the “4X4” bishops or even a slightly naughty “pickup bishops” it would not have the same impact. “Pajero bishops” as a phrase insinuates a scandalous misconduct that will surely make ears perk up. When asked why they have decided to return the vehicles to the PCSO and adamantly refused the offer for them to keep them their reply was that it was “prophetic”. In a biblical sense, it could have meant a discernment that the present dispensation or the king is a false one and would be anathema to their beliefs.
The most palpable blow was on the President who is now being accused as having masterminded the accusations in retaliation against the bishops who have been waging a relentless war against the RH Bill that P’noy is championing. The bishops have played their hand well in the PCSO furor. Admitting to a fault of nondiscernment and being contrite and meek about it created an underdog stance which gained a lot of brownie points from the public at the expense of the President.
It is easy to agree with what the verbose lady senator proposed as to the allocation of the PCSO funds. PGMA have used PCSO fund as some sort of pork barrel but with indiscriminate distribution (but so is the pork barrel) favouring those that have been useful, those that might be useful, those that she hopes to win over to use for her own causes. While those lawfully vested with power are entitled to certain prerogatives, the exercise of these should be within specified bounds. The amounts disbursed by PGMA have been in scandalous proportions and obviously with reciprocal political agendas. The absence of guidelines on how the funds are to be dispensed makes it appear that these are favours coming from a personal largesse. PGMA may have had occasions when the sincerity of her charities where unassailable but they seemed to be more exception rather than the rule. This is why she now seems to have a reverse Midas effect on her beneficiaries.
I find it unfortunate to have P’noy knee deep into a mess that probably does not merit that much in the overall scheme of things. Command responsibility dictates that the onus is on his shoulders despite the fact that this may have, again, been an error in judgment by a subordinate from a poorly rated collection of clumsy, inept and lightweight staff. Time and again we said that one cannot organize a crew of the best and the brightest with little motivation. Honesty pays, but not materially. Perhaps a little tolerance and understanding is needed to encourage a ragtag, motley group of good leaders with a fair amount of not so good ones. One now appreciates the plaint of P’noy that there are members of his staff that are pulling him down.
At this time, I’m probably one of the holdouts of a diminishing number of people who have placed their trust on the leadership of P’noy and on his platform anchored on the eradication of corruption. Thus far we have not heard of any new major corruption happening in this administration. Pot shots of petty thieveries, accusations that besmirch some members of his cabinet, lifestyle quirks, ineptness have been hurled at P’noy et al but all of them pale by comparison with the atrocious and brazen acts of plunder perpetrated by the former dispensation. An ongoing track of non-corruption does not sell newspapers, neither does it increase viewership of news programs and talk shows. This kind of news eventually gets relegated to the to a small mention as an aside from a bigger story or into the records of a police blotter if there are such things in media logs.
I don’t believe P’noy is anti church he is just pro RH Bill and he stands steadfast on this conviction. There is just a lot heritage in the Aquino family to belie the fact P’noy has gone on the left field with his religious convictions. If it were not for this unfortunate disagreement, P’noy and the Catholic Church would have gotten along famously because they are both stalwarts in the fight against the evil of corruption. I am impressed by the fact that he had the courage to stand foursquare in his convictions in the face of opposition coming from such a formidable and stolid monolith like the Catholic Church. P’noy is not your garden variety of politician who would have abandoned a cause he truly believes in. It may be political suicide but a man has to do what he’s got to do.
The kind of change that P’noy is working on is a heroic one or in management terms a BHAG (Big, Hairy and Audacious Goal). Ridding the system of a festering wound inflicted through the ages of corrupt colonizers, exploitative leaders and false exemplars would take time. At the moment much time has been devoted to the running after of the grafters of the previous administration. The successful prosecution of these evildoers is necessary to inculcate on our people, especially the young ones, that there is justice in our land, that crime does not pay, that the corrupt in society will have their comeuppance and that it is heroic to be honest, there is premium to doing what is right and that there is still hope that our culture, flawed as it is, is not beyond redemption.
To those who have placed their trust on P’noy at the outset, I urge you to please persevere a bit more and do not abandon the hope of the change, that P’noy rallied us at the start, is still possible. If we are not successful in ushering change then the future will be just a repetition of history or possibly worse.