Post Script to Ocampo v. Lozada

Date posted on March 10, 2008

My friends’ reaction makes it more apparent how many Filipinos are truly passionate about the current issues in the country. Kaya nga I felt compelled to write that entry. Somehow, I know my inhibition from participating in public protests possibly belies the concern and immense love I have for the Philippines.Hold back, I definitely did. Precisely because I appreciate Lozada’s exposés and respect him for it. Like him, I am against corruption. I wish for us a better brand of politics and, however difficult, I sanguinely dream to see Pinas pull itself out of its rut. But when Lozada starts to act the way he does, when he uses the public stage no just to tell the truth about the anomalous ZTE deal but to ask the public if they will forgive him for his past indiscretions, he too makes it personal. I can expect that from his detractors, the Goliaths of Philippine politics, but not from a “probinsyanong intsik” version of David. It may be inconsequential to ask forgiveness from the public for his past extra-marital affairs (which I’ve seen him do on television) in the context of his explosive disclosure, but if he’s using this opportunity as atonement, that too qualifies as an agenda – and that blurs the distinction between him and the politicians he loves to implicate. Siguro nga, he didn’t set out to have his axe ground. But when he starts with those antics, I can’t help but think that he may have a small one he didn’t realize needed sharpening after all.

That’s what led me to differentiate him from Ms Ocampo, and in turn use that as a parallelism to why I do not respond to today’s call for mass demonstrations the way I proudly did during EDSA Dos. Because that’s where I see myself right now: caught between the dilemma of a desire to rid the government of corruption and traditional politics, and fear of the swarm of shady interest groups lurking in the periphery as they await their chance to grab power for themselves. Maybe other people are just made of tougher things, but I can’t imagine going to a rally endorsed by Binay who until now, despite his vehement stand against corruption in GMA’s administration, refuses to acknowledge his staunch ally’s. A rally where (former nemeses) yellows sit side by side oranges.

I advocate the rule of law even if the political climate does not seem conducive for it. Some people understandably see that as futile, perhaps a misplaced repose of optimism. I personally see it as an enlightened stand, a firm refusal to be used by ANYONE, and faith in the framers of the Constitution. I just think THAT ox is alive and kicking. And I hope to see that ox ram down not just the corruption of THIS government, but corruption – period. Corruption in general. I’m just wary of being means to someone’s selfish end.