Friday, June 10, 2011

Corruption of Public Trust, Part I

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.


  1. what kind of racism did you see? specific example?

  2. Joe,

    There you go again making generalizations about pinoys based on a few isolated incidents. Let me assure you that Filipinos are among the most tolerant, spiritual and intellectual people in the world. We have a great culture and I hope that a few bad apples distorts your perception from this truth.

  3. GabbyD, My bank account with BDO requires that all transactions under P50,000 be done through the ATM. I go to the teller window all the time and get less. My wife goes to the teller line and asks for less and is denied.

    I go to the LTO office and get courteous, personal treatment. Everyone else is made to wait, fundamentally ignored.

    Proud Pinoy, I agree that Filipinos are great people and have a wonderful culture, the part that is kind and celebratory of life. But there are aspects of the culture that are not modern, not safe, not clean, and plain rude. Dump the latter and allow the former to thrive, and I would agree with you 100%.

  4. Proud Pinoy,

    personally, ewan ko lang sa "few bad apples".

    But in everything else, I think Joe's observations are spot-on and must be taken with a grain of salt.

    Why are we being defensive when someone throws valid criticisms at Filipinos? Let's not fool ourselves that what Joe is talking about are very special, once-in-a-lifetime, "isolated" incidents. Why are we living in denial?

    The same people doing these evil deeds are probably the same people imploring the excuse that they are "proud to be Da Pinoy with a great culture" but of course, just merely acting as an exception when they piss, litter, spit and abuse their walls, their streets, their jobs and their honor. In fact, they are counting on it.

    Embrace these criticisms and let us be aware of it before it really becomes the rule rather than the exception (if its not already).

  5. REALITY BITES...this is the reality we have..criticism such as this must be taken into consideration and deep thinking...ACCEPTANCE OF THE TRUTH...if we wanted to be proud of to be PINOY...LET'S START IT FROM OURSELVES...whether we like it or not..this is really happening abundantly...BAD CRITICISM as you may think and see..but TRUTH AND REALITY are within it...

  6. we need more info. maybe you are nicer? do you treat them better? are you older? past 60?

    at the lto, it depends on what you are there for. are you there for something special? or routine?

    generally, being nice gets you what you want. being personable, etc. all important. being good looking helps. being eloquent helps.

  7. GabbyD, I get the point of your questions, that the response may be cultural, not racial. I agree with that. I do smile when I walk up to someone new; my wife does not, at a place like a bank, because she is nervous. We are both nice. That is the only difference in "treatment". I am past 60. My wife in the incident cited was clearly 8 months pregnant. At the LTO, we were all working on license renewal.

    I do think I am given favorable treatment in many many ways. It may indeed be cultural, not racial.

  8. isnt there an express lane for people over 60? thats one reason.

  9. Proud Pinoy definitely has his name right.

    We should start thinking and stop making assumptions about ourselves. Yes, we are probably the most tolerant people in the world to tolerate what's going on in the Philippines all this time.


Please take up comments at the new blog site at

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.