I have been cursed with having visions that most Filipinos don’t see. It is rather like some see the White Lady, others do not. It is astounding.
I see an essential unfairness in the appointment of family, friends and favorites to jobs that more capable workers are denied, but Filipinos see nothing wrong. “It’s just the way things here work.”
They aren’t working very damn well.
Equal opportunity means employers consider the job and the job candidate objectively, and hire the most capable person. This leads to fairness that is blind to race, religion, gender and other irrelevancies. It assures the most productive outcome. But Filipinos don’t get this concept – of promoting capability - or if they do get it, they have no idea how to make it a national value, or if they do know how to make it a national value, they can’t summon up the frickin’ energy to frickin’ act.
I see an incredible unkindness from Filipino to Filipino, even racism, favoring white and whites, but I am greeted with how proud Filipinos are, how tight-knit, how happy and “you foreigners shut your yaps”.
I see the Catholic Church nailing the Philippines solidly to the 15the century, like Jesus tight upon the cross; Filipinos march off to mass like lemmings over the cliff, hailing Mary all the way. Poor, poor Mary. You know Mary? The woman? Yet here wife beaters are protected, deadbeat dads are protected, the other cheek is turned toward adulterous men and women, teenage girls sneak out for coat-hanger abortions, and the church is busy screaming how a piece of rubber is threatening the very moral underpinning of a nation, stealing its very right to life.
This is life, these malnourished, sick children who never makes it to the doctor before they find the grave? These dog ridden, lice infested sewerage pits that people call home? These shacks on the river banks awaiting the next big rain to see if their occupants can mud-surf all the way to the South China Sea?
This is life?
My wife knows how frustrated I get with the blindness, the relentless envy and cattiness, the Ego and unkindness that underpin so many daily Filipino acts. The windshield of my Honda Civic hears my loud rants and throws them back into my face, useless, as if it, too, had the impervious turtle shell that defines Filipino self-awareness.
My Barangay Captain plays his power, rewards his friends, punishes his enemies. He is careful not to play with money; he knows that in an awakening Philippines, that could get him in trouble. So he plays a different game.
He is not in office to protect the public welfare and provide service to all, equally, blind to gender or nationality or faith or wealth. He is in it to execute his little agendas, to stoke his pride, his power. It is akin to the smugness you read on Ampatuan Sr’s face as he plays the courts like a yoyo. You are either with him, or against him. You are on list A or list B.
My family is on the Captain’s list B.
So I will tell all you blind Filipinos that there is more to corruption than money. There is corruption of ethics, of public trust, of fairness, of kindness. And it is more prevalent than moneyed corruption in the Philippines. Power plays. Favorites. Punishments. Game-playing that harms others. Tearing down rather than building.
I wrap it all up under the banner of corruption of public trust.
It is a violation of the Constitution, although I doubt I can find a Filipino attorney who can even grasp that concept. They are not exactly a deep-seeing bunch, being fully engaged in bowing to the big shots rather than caring for their nation. Caring is not a quality that runs rich in the Philippines, and in hard-hearted, money-grubbing attorneys, it runs absent. These useless attorneys are, after all, clothed in Filipino values from the dog-shit soiled soles of their polished black shoes to the unshowered, sweaty starched collars on their lacy beige shirts. Looks good, stinks underneath.
I’ll write more about corruption of public trust when I cool down.