By: Reyshimar Arguelles
IF CREDIBILITY were an element in the Periodic Table, then it’s only fair to say it’s hopelessly scarce in this country. It’s almost as if nature had intended for dishonesty and falsity to be an intrinsic part of the social fabric.
People make stories up, and it has been an ages-old propaganda device to write or say utterly outrageous things to discredit your opponents or project yourself as some sort of deity to people who’d buy in to your lies.
There is virtue to be found in saying or writing the truth. We can find none of it in politics, where people are made to worship false truths and accept these in place of what actually is. You can say that the inflation rate has gone down or that we feel safer from criminality, but how much of all the drivel issued through radio blocktimes and TV spots contains a single ounce of truth behind all that optimism?
You can make the most outlandish claims and still get elected. No one really cares how sleazy you are so long as you project a warm smile and a welcoming demeanor. Never mind the murkiness of your own being so long as you look like you portray the common Joe. Populism is inherently wrong and we can see that at how we vote the same sordid personalities back to power.
It’s either we lack a learning curve or we have gone to a point in which all sense of right and wrong has become so irrelevant that we choose who to hate based on idiotic criteria rather than on common sense.
To illustrate at how we have mastered the art of cognitive bias, administration supporters are now looking to persecute Peter Joemel Advincula – the man said to be behind the Bikoy video series – for attempting to discredit the Duterte administration over its alleged ties with the underworld. Authorities are still verifying his identity, speculating that someone is pulling the strings and that the person presented at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines was only a dummy meant to mask the real masterminds. On the part of the PNP, Gen. Oscar Albayalde laid doubt on the substance of the Bikoy videos, saying that Advincula had run-ins with the law for estafa and illegal recruitment, to which Advincula admitted.
The Palace didn’t also spare any punches when Spokesperson Sal Panelo accused Advincula of being a fraudster for crimes that led to his six-year incarceration.
These crimes involve moral turpitude that goes to the very integrity and credibility of Advincula or Bikoy, Panelo said.
And that ladies and gentlemen is what’s so morally torpid about this administration at times because it only proves that integrity and credibility have lost all meaning. Who could have forgotten the fact that the Department of Justice allowed 13 drug convicts to testify against Senator Leila De Lima for allegedly masterminding the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her term as DOJ Secretary.
Is Bikoy any different from these inmates? To Panelo’s mind, at least, using people with questionable backgrounds only works if it’s for the public interest. If that’s so, wouldn’t it make sense to take an in-depth look into the content of the Bikoy videos and try to debunk the supposed paper trail involving the Presidential family’s links in the drug trade?
This is something that should pique our interest as it involves the highest official of the land. We can only hope to tackle this issue objectively by using actual facts rather than nauseating matrixes that only connect names and pictures and have no actual legal value.
Recently, the Palace has released a new matrix that purports to unmask a conspiracy spearheaded by now less than the administration’s favorite punching bags. The Senate has also cancelled an inquiry into the Bikoy videos and the IBP has already withdrawn from granting Advincula legal aid.
Where do we go from here now that everything’s been treated like a circus? The truth is we don’t know, because there’s plenty of incriminating stuff our leaders don’t want us to know.