Rigodon of ‘thieves’

GARBAGE is not the only one recycled in the Age of Katay Digong, but the corrupt as well. The rigodon of thieves, which aptly describes the change of leadership in the House of Representatives, is nothing but the recycling of the corrupt, a set of thieves replacing another gang of robbers.

Du30’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday was eclipsed and upstaged by a sideshow staged by his allies in a childish display of naked power grab. The fall of Pantaleon Alvarez as House leader was swift and ruthless and was surgically executed by former allies who used to kiss his feet. He was no less stabbed in the back by his former boss Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) who replaced him as Speaker of the House.

Delivery of Du30’s Sona was delayed for an hour, an unprecedented incident in a carefully choreographed event due to the tussle for House leadership. Sensing a coup, the group Alvarez adjourned the session earlier and the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was the first casualty. Signing of the law was supposed to be the highlight of Du30’s Sona.

But Alvarez cannot stop the inevitable with more than 161 members of the House signing a resolution calling for a change of leadership. In desperation, allies of Alvarez removed the House mace and turned off the microphone but this did not prevent the group of GMA from installing her. She was left shouting at the top of her voice in order to be heard, a hilarious scene which tickled and outraged the public.

After Du30 finally delivered his lame and tasteless Sona, the House reconvened and by a vote of 184 with 12 abstentions once again elected GMA as Speaker. This time the group of Alvarez was helpless to prevent their downfall. Karma came like a thief in the night to deliver a coup de grace to a thief – what a cruel twist of fate.

What happened in the House was an astounding turn of events. Three years ago, GMA was under hospital arrest, facing numerous plunder cases. She has neck braces, looked sickly, and even appears dying. Now under Du30’s watch she is blooming and radiant suddenly healed from a “deadly malady.” Worst, she is back in power and is now the fourth highest official in the land.

Election of GMA to the Speakership exposed the farce of Du30’s anti-corruption promise. His “I hate corruption” claim is stripped naked, and bared as the supreme hypocrisy of his administration. Du30 does not hate corruption but on contrary loves the corrupt and robbers. He gleefully embraces the corrupt and the morally bankrupt.

Next to the dictator Marcos, GMA is the most unpopular “president” of the country. Her questionable presidency was marked with numerous corruption scandals in a scale unseen and unheard since the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship.

Still fresh in the mind of Filipinos is the $ 329-million NBN-ZTE project that was overpriced by $130 million. Who can also forget the $503-million North Rail project which the Supreme Court (when it still has integrity) ordered cancelled for lack of competitive bidding?

Then there was the Jose Pidal scandal where the husband of GMA, Mike Arroyo was accused of amassing more than P200 million from election campaign contributions. Filipino farmers were robbed blind by the P728-million fertilizer scam. The fertilizers supposed to be given to the farmers were overpriced by a whopping 682 percent.

Even loans from the World Bank (WB) were not spared by the greedy hands of the GMA presidency. WB report revealed that bidding for the $232-million loan for road project was rigged forcing the bank to withhold the loan. This scandal was complemented by the anomaly in the $932-million South Rail project. Whistle blower Jun Lozada revealed that the project was overpriced by 22 percent.

Highlighting the wicked rule of GMA was the Hello Garci scandal where she and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano were accused of conspiring to rig the 2005 presidential election. The scandal was the defining moment of GMA’s universally reviled rule.

GMA’s return implies the future looks bad for Filipinos but bright for the corrupt and raiders of national coffer. Theft of people’s money is in full bloom again.

Aside from making corruption a booming industry again, the downfall of Alvarez is a stern warning to Du30, his gang and the fanatics. Nothing last forever and karma sooner than later will catch up the wicked and the abusive.

When Alvarez was Speaker, he was one of the most abrasive, arrogant and stupid national leaders ever to appear on national stage. His arrogance and over-bearing leadership were the factors that led to his downfall. Alvarez wrongly assumed that he will stay as Speaker for life, even scoffing at rumors of his removal months before. “Go ahead, make my day,” he sneered at the plots.

Alvarez was ousted in the most embarrassing manner, right in the middle of a national event, the Sona. He was removed as Speaker in the most humiliating manner, in front of the nation and the world. It was the most fitting karma to a person of Alvarez kind. Hubris led to his ruin and his political demise is a foregone conclusion.

If this can happen to Alvarez, it can also happen to a worst bully than him, Du30. Alvarez’ disgrace is a grim and stern reminder to Du30 that his brash, brutal, abusive, and heartless leadership will have its end. And like most autocrats before him – Hitler, Stalin, Marcos, Pol Pot, Amin, etc., the end for Du30 will not be a happy one.

“The evil that men do lives after them,” Shakespeare wrote. Like Alvarez, Du30 will also have his comeuppance and he will get his justly deserved dessert.

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