Greed: Lesson From The Past
By Ernesto t. solidum
After listening of Jun Lozada’s testimony during the joint Senate investigation (February 11) into the ZTE-NBN deal, one can’t help but be agitated on the extent of corruption in the government service. It is extremely pathetic that one whistleblower could be ganged upon by “hoodlums” out to silence him. Cash given by former Secretary Mike Defensor was P50,000 while Deputy Executive Secretary Manuel Gaite was P500,000. Their gestures were ostensibly to bail out the star witness from the mess of facing a Senate inquiry. Out of self pity, he promptly submitted the money in exact amounts to the Blue Ribbon Committee during the hearing.
Greed is to covet things not your own. It is cancerous disease that saps our moral existence. Desire is never satisfied. Moderation of greed cannot even be qualified statement since it is detestable and incompatible with expectation of society. Public office is a public trust, therefore officials must be accountable to the people according to the Civil Service law and the Philippine Constitution.
Psychological findings reveal that man’s dream centers on five things namely: wealth, power, fame, sex and recreational pleasure. Evidently, these are necessary for self-esteem and acceptance but when carried to excess can be disastrous to his well being. World empires set by Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Nero and King Nebuchadnezzar, among others, crumbled from within because of greed or avarice.
The poignant story in the bible about Achan coveting the beautiful linen mantle from Shinar, treasure chest of gold and silver from among the ruins of battle at Ai brought destruction not only on himself, his family but the entire struggling people of Israel (Joshua 7:1-26). His sin was merely salvaging a few earthly items and hiding them under the floor of his tent. Judgment of the Lord in this incident was swift and fiery-stoning to death and burning of all Achans’ possessions.
Another incident is King Ahabs’ coveting the vineyard of Naboth (1 Kings 21:1-28). Its location was adjacent to the palatial ground but considering that land was inherited from his ancestors, Naboth could not part away his property even if given a generous offer by the King. Ahab together with his scheming wife Jezebel succeeded in acquiring the property by murdering the helpless vinedresser. The Lord was angered and this dastardly act resulted in ultimate death of the royal couple and a curse on the Hebrew nation.
A compelling drama on greed has been documented by Dr. Jose Rizal in his novel, “El Filibusterismo” citing systematic plunder of wealth, dehumanization, injustice and betrayal all done in the guise of religion. Let the darkest side of Philippine history be laid to rest but we treasure the heroic stand of our propagandist and katipuneros who laid their lives in defense of the Motherland.
Greed of corruption is mainly responsible for our basket case economy. At least a third of the P1.2 trillion national budget is channeled to the wrong hands. Malefactors thrive because it is very rare that they are charged and convicted in court. Public perception is that investigation into alleged anomalies in government is one big moro-moro and all noise. Perhaps congressional and senate investigations should instead be shifted into productive pursuits like enactment of laws that generate employment opportunities and modernizing education.
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Who benefited from the DepEd scam? Are the suspects prosecuted in court? If not, it is the job of DepEd Regional office to shed light on this highly anomalous business transaction. And why did DepEd Aklan received these computers with exorbitant cost? Are they accessory to the crime?
Putting more teeth on our criminal justice system pursuing corruption cases lie not only on the Ombudsman and Commission on Audit, but NGO’s PO’s and people like Jun Lozada. People empowerment can be instrumental in putting the bad eggs behind bars. Perhaps with greater zeal, we can toss into oblivion a chapter in Philippine history that Magellan called one of the far flung islands in