Unlike mainstream newspapers and apparently everybody else, I am not at all impressed by the Supreme Court (SC)’s junking of the Truth Commission or by the PeNoy administration’s avowals to continue the prosecution of crimes against the people committed under the Arroyo regime. I have always seen Arroyo and Aquino III as part and parcel of a continuum of the system ruled by Western neo-colonial powers in partnership with the local ruling class of oligarchs and corrupt politicians. The conflicts among establishment political parties and personalities are more distractive illusions or moro-moro and zarzuela than real antagonisms.
How can they really be antagonistic when they are all the same, except for the brief period of genuine candor under President Joseph Estrada? Cory, FVR, GMA and PeNoy merely sustain the plutocracy that carry on the exploitation of the people for the benefit of the exploiting class.
Buried beneath the hullabaloo over the Truth Commission fiasco now confirmed by the majority decision of the SC are the real crucial issues of the nation, such as the government’s increasing of the wholesale price of NFA (National Food Authority) rice from P23.50 to P25 per kilogram while retail prices have been increased from P25 to P27 per kilo last Dec. 7, which the NFA claims is aimed at “ensuring the viability of the agency.”
If I understand this logic right, the NFA is raising its price not for the direct benefit of the rice farmers but for sustaining the agency which clearly would be good for its personnel, particularly those recently appointed. Yet it remains to be seen whether this would be any good for the farmers and for rice production in the country at all. This is the solution the new government found to plug the budgetary hole when PeNoy’s Cabinet cut the NFA’s funding. What PeNoy has taken away will be replaced by what they now will take from the people’s pockets.
This price increase comes at a time when incomes are stagnant and real unemployment — not to mention underemployment — continues to soar at the highest levels, i.e. between 40 and 60 percent, when one counts unpaid family-based labor in or out of the employed sector. The NFA rice price increase is but one of the many other increases in basic commodities and services the government is poised to approve.
Power rates have continued to rise with the continuing implementation of the PBR (Performance Based Rate) scheme, wherein power companies target profit and alleged performance levels which the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approves to allow the collection of those rates in advance — clearly an unconstitutional system being challenged by anti-power plunder consumer groups before the SC. Aside from this, water rates continue to rise as well in the face of declining foreign exchange burdens for these privatized utility companies.
We can go on with the expanding list of cost burdens the government is passing on to the shoulders of the people, such as the South and North Luzon toll fees, as well as that of the SCTex; same with the MRT and LRT rates, all of which the government is just waiting for some opportune time to raise.
Even this short list already presents tremendous financial dislocation for our people — the masa as well as the middle classes. The aggravation of the political moro-moros and zarzuelas for the Aquinorroyo clowns is essential for the ruling class to continue distracting the people from the real issues. These are simultaneously critical for PeNoy’s ConGroup to lay the blame on the past regime while they continue to implement the same conditional cash transfer program initiated under Gloria Arroyo; the same BOT scheme now renamed as public-private partnership projects; as well as another round of increase in the eVAT from 12 to 15 percent.
The SC’s junking of the Truth Commission (TC) exposes the complete paucity of the moral and constitutional integrity of its chief, Hilario Davide, as well as the other retired justices who joined it, for accepting their posts in a constitutionally infirmed body created by incompetent legal minds of the Chief Executive’s office.
They show themselves as no better than the amateurs in Malacañang today, and raise the question of their competence when they were not yet retired from the high court. “Sabagay,” a voice echoed, “the people never had any doubt about the lack of integrity and competence of Davide whose appointment to head the TC crippled its credibility from the very start.”
If these former justices had any dignity, they would have committed seppuku already. The collapse of the TC now sets off multiple football scenarios — an appeal to the SC and a clamor for the Department of Justice to initiate prosecution, which brings the ball to the Ombudsman where Arroyo has another goalie guarding her rear. It’s really a circus.
If the ruling class and its minions in the political sphere were serious in pursuing the crimes committed under the nine-and-a-half years of Gloria Arroyo’s tyranny, they would have set up a special court with impartial and dedicated judges. But can we expect any sense of justice from them especially with the way they persecuted their nemesis President Erap, whose only crime was to oppose the exploitation they wanted him to bless with presidential approval?
Alas, the ruling class and the system it runs will never want a serious inquiry and exposé of the crimes committed under the Arroyo regime for it will expose them too.
The whole truth will have to wait until a genuine people’s revolution (hopefully a peaceful one) establishes a truly democratic government and a People’s Court to expose the complete historical truth and pursue the multitude of particular crimes to mete out justice with finality.