Nothing seems to change
Copycat Noynoy Aquino ran on the issue of change, the same battle cry of then presidential candidate Barack Obama who is now red in the face for failing to institute changes in his new government.
Filipinos had been expecting a strong sense of urgency in eradicating or at least minimizing the illegal jueteng numbers game but all they got from the president was his “assurance” that jueteng was not on the list of his immediate priorities.
Filipinos had been praying hard for an end to illegal logging that had brought miseries and lost lives and property but the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) doesn’t seem to care.
Filipinos were expecting President Noynoy to punish those who made the Quirino Grandstand an international shame but instead, he exonerated all of them against the wishes of a fact-finding body he himself created.
The President promised the nation an end to foreign loans we did not need, but his own bright boys are now all busy for foreign bond offerings to show the world that the Philippines is credit-worthy.
He asked for an end to street corruption but after the initial hoorah from the new Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the kotong cops are back and the illegal buses securely enjoying the fruits of their labor to the detriment of motorists and pedestrians.
Nothing really changed despite the booming voice of a new President threatening the corrupt, the inefficient and the peddlers of lies as if we were still under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whom the new regime had claimed to have hated.
The fight against jueteng, for instance, and against the small town lottery (STL) scheme of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Organization (PCSO) made bolder by the new government is an instant case.
The new archbishop of Lingayen and Dagupan Socrates Villegas said the “mortally corrupt” STL that Gloria liked and the STL that Noynoy has adopted remain thriving in more provinces.
“We reject the promotion of the small town lottery as the means to stop illegal gambling. A government that promotes gambling is a morally corrupt government,” he said in a pastoral statement.
The Catholic Church, he said, was prepared to “fight without relent” those who promoted a “culture of gambling” in Pangasinan.
If that is so, what happened to the church-inspired revelation that there are people within the Cabinet who were involved in jueteng?
Maybe, the Catholic Church should try a little harder this time. The priests can themselves prosecute the protectors of gambling, charge them and send them to jail, with or without the blessings of Noynoy.
As for the log cutters, the Catholic Church knows who these illegal loggers are. Many of them are said to be either government officials themselves or are simply at cahoots with the syndicates.
But the Catholic Church is not prepared to pursue the case against Undersecretary Rico Puno and to other friends of Noynoy and also not prepared to run after illegal loggers and illegal miners. Raul Valino