Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The title comes from Roman satirist Juvenal's 2nd-century poem, and translates to: "But who watches the watchmen?"

The poem was an outright lambast on the decay of Roman morality. Men use the institution of marriage to advance their own careers, without regard for their feelings or commitments to the marriage vows; women, now aware of their bargaining power through the marital relationship, apparently do the same.

I never was a follower of double standards: what's good/bad for the goose should also be the same for the gander.

Yes, this is another rant on the political state of the Philippines under the "faithful watchmen" of our institutions. I quote the poem's most memorable quatrain:

"I hear all this time the advice of my old friends—
Put on a lock and keep your wife guarded behind doors.
Yes, but who will watch the watchmen?
The wife arranges accordingly and begins sleeping with them."

I am willing to take a gamble on the oppositionists, if only they have more to gain in making good on the demands for reform and change. However, I remain wary that their complaints are only for their self-serving agenda will do nothing for the good of the people and for the State.

This, however, does not let the administration off the hook. Likewise, I am tired of the loyalists who claim "pragmatism" and turn a blind eye to the shameful conduct of affairs of this administration. I am sick of them saying "I am not affected by these events, and all the evils in our country are caused by the opposition and the communists."

Sure thing.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that a conclusive case has not been built against the Estradas, despite all the documentation collated during the impeachment case in 2000-2001. Let's not forget that the Marcoses have subsequently "rehabilitated" their image and that the late President Marcos can earn a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Mark that against the opposition and communists too.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that Congressman Mikey Arroyo's net worth ballooned from P5 million to P74 million in two years.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that despite a clean slate and overwhelming public support, our electoral system has not been modernized. And that we lost something like P800 million to P1.2 billion in the process.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that a suspected vote-padder (among other things), Virgilio Garcillano, was appointed Comelec commissioner.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that P200 million was spent on the most-expensive (per kilometer) thoroughfare ever built, and that it was named after the President's late father to boot.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that no accounting can ever be made of the money OFWs paid for medical benefits, money that was funnelled to secure political support during the 2004 elections and thereafter.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that cases against the Oakwood plotters, Gen. Garcia, and a number of grafters are not moving.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault our budget will balloon to P1.1 trillion, leaving us in a greater debt hole and sink us into a deeper fiscal crisis.

Too much democracy? I disagree. The involvement of the people in our democracy is at best marginal despite all the signs of "mob rule." Mob rule is not democracy. Mob rule only obeys one rule: the raw emotion of the mob.

Strongman rule? All too tempting. From Plato down to Nietzsche, the establishment of authoritarian rule by a cadre of supermen has been the prescription for a healthier, more peaceful environment in which we can live.

As with the case of Marcos, he was both a victim and an exponent of our societal decay.

No matter whom we put on the watch, the question still arises - Who will watch the watchmen?

Until Filipinos grow up to be a more mature people, we will wallow in this morass.

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