By Alex P. Vidal
“Corruption happens because there is impunity. That’s the reason why corruption is widespread at all levels – from the person who asks for a bribe on the street to those who hold prominent positions.”—Joao Lourenco
IF Senator Jinggoy Estrada were Japanese, he would have committed a hara-kiri.
It’s a form of ritual suicide in Japan by defeated warriors (samurai). From the 17th to 19th centuries, hara-kiri was a form of death penalty, disguised as suicide, for accused individuals of Japan’s warrior class.
But Estrada is a Filipino, a traditional politician, who lives a privileged and glossy life.
Pinoy politicians have some of the most notorious reputations when it comes to dishonesty and corruption.
If you’re a Filipino politician (with due respect to the good ones) and happens to visit abroad, it’s difficult to admit who you are for fear of being sneered at.
A politician is different from a patriot. The former is synonymous to graft and corruption and grandstanding; the latter is synonymous to patriotism, probity, and incorruptibility.
I have plenty of politician “friends” in the Philippines who are dedicated and mission-oriented, but they are outnumbered by politicians who are disgraceful and dishonorable.
Thus, Estrada could still manage to smile and hollered, “I’m vindicated” after being cleared January 19 by the Sandiganbayan 5th Division for plunder in relation to the pork barrel scam.
Despite being sentenced by the same division to two to three years of imprisonment for indirect bribery and penalized with suspension of holding public office, public censure and perpetual special disqualification of the right to vote, Estrada thought he just won a Wimbledon tennis match by grinning from ear to ear while talking to reporters after the sentencing.
Being found guilty of one count of bribery and two counts of indirect bribery after allegedly pocketing P183 million in kickbacks from ghost projects masterminded by the “queen of pork barrel scam” Janet Napoles, is not a vindication.
The real meaning of vindication, according to Oxford, is a “proof that someone or something is right, reasonable, or justified.”
No, Jinggoy, you weren’t vindicated. You were found guilty and the reason why you weren’t delivered straight to the calaboose was because you availed an appeal in the higher court.
Estrada was sentenced to eight to nine years in prison for direct bribery and is ordered to pay a P3-million fine.
This isn’t a vindication.
SAVING OUR PLANET. Let’s de-scorch with milk. To remove iron scorches from colorfast clothing and fabrics, let’s gently simmer the scorched article in one cup soap flakes (or grated pure-Castile soap) and four pints of milk for 10 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly, allow to dry, and wash normally.
IF WE GRAB A CANDY BAR when we have PMS, we’re likely to recognize the hormonal connection. but what if it’s our credit card we’re reaching for? Turns out that spending may also be influenced by hormones.
No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek Him. — HEBREW 11:6.
What is impossible for man is possible for God — LUKE 18:27
I SUPPORT THE WELCOME CORPS. As an immigrant from the Philippines, I support the Welcome Corps commemorated January 19 by the Department of State, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services. Welcome Corps, a private sponsorship program that empowers everyday Americans to welcome refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), is now one year. Welcome Corps sponsors support refugees’ resettlement and integration as they build new lives in the United States. Through this service opportunity, more than 15,000 Americans have already applied to sponsor more than 7,000 refugees through the Welcome Corps, exceeding our mobilization goal for the program’s first year.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)