Saturday, 12 October 2013

Open Letter to Senator Jinggoy Estrada (from CN Llige)

This is a reprint of an open letter written to Senator Jinggoy Estrada posted on Facebook by C N Llige in response to his 25 September 2013 Privilege Speech.

26 September 2013 at 20:17
To Senator Estrada: 
Thank you for your bold statements. You have confirmed for us what we have long suspected; that the government is filled with thieves and corrupt incompetent people who don't do their jobs properly. Strangely we believe you but what really bothers us is why you are saying all this now.
Sabi mo “...'kung sino mang walang bahid ng ano mang kasalanan, kayo ang unang bumato sa taong ito'. Huwag kayong mag-malinis at lalong lalo na, huwag naman kayong masyadong ipokrito!" Ang kinagagalit mo ba ay dahil may paratang sa iyo o dahil yung umuusig sayo ay may kasalanan ding tulad mo? Ang kinaiinisan mo ba ay dahil parepareho lang kayo ng ginagawa, pero kayong tatlo lang ang dinidiin? Kung ganoon sumasang ayun kami sa inyo na lahat ng nagkasala ay dapat usigin ng walang kiling.
You also said, "Selective justice is injustice." Do you mean that it isn't justice if only the three of you are penalized, but that if everyone found guilty in the COA report were penalized then that would be justice? If so, then again we agree with you.
Then you said that there are "...some ugly facts on the PDAF that our people must know". Did the "ugliness" of these facts suddenly occur to you when the charges were brought against you, or have you been suffering from this deluge of funds since you assumed your seat as senator. The pronouncements you've made are indeed ugly. You would think that this level of ugly would compel someone to speak out against it, however everyone has remained silent, until this time. And you would think that this ugliness might cause people who experienced it to lose their appetite for it, and yet those who have tasted it have pursued it like mad men, lusting for more. Why do you suppose this is so? And now that you have finally deemed it necessary to disclose these "ugly facts" that "people must know" are you hoping that justice for the people might finally prevail or that the people who have been shamed by your disclosure will back off and so you can all go back to business as usual? What is your purpose is for delivering your speech? What do you seek to achieve by it ? 
Finally Senator, you said, "...I believe that we all here are victims of a flawed system which is so ingrained that it has been institutionalized." Are you saying that none of you in Congress had a choice in this?  That you were all somehow compelled to participate in this grand scam? That none of you could do anything to change it? That you were all under duress to keep silent? 
I agree with most of what you said except for this point. You are "victims" only if you suffered from this system. Please explain to us how any of you suffered from this system. Perhaps you are feeling a discomfort from your perception that others who did the same thing are getting away with it, while you are being held accountable. Perhaps you are thinking your father didn't have to pay all that much either, so why should you. You would think that an innocent man would assert his innocence over and over again, but you did no such thing. Instead you presented us with a picture of this massive corruption and incompetence, in which you were an active participant, perhaps to make your role appear smaller in the grander scheme of things? Never once did you say that you have never used public funds for personal use. The closest you ever got to insinuating your innocence is "Bigyan naman sana kami ng pagkakataon na linisin ang nadungisan naming pangalan at harapin ang mga nag-aakusa sa amin sa tamang panahon at sa isang pantay at walang kinikilingan na hukom." But such a carefully worded statement by a politician caught in a massive tangle contains terrifying implications from the perspective of an observing public. It is really more disturbing than it is comforting. 
The public's harshness and outrage comes from years of abuse that we have been helpless to change. If there are any victims here it is the tax-burdened public. We are taxed for everything, our income, our saving's interest, our purchases, our investments, our medication, our food, our utilities. We cannot move without being taxed, and yet we have to travel in over-crowded public transport, brave the ridiculous traffic and wade in flood waters year after year. We have to pay dearly to give our children a decent education. We have to go into debt to afford our medical requirements, especially for our elderly. You speak of the medical and educational assistance you extend to people.  Who are these people exactly? All I know is they aren't us. We are pretty much left alone to struggle after taxes are collected from us.  
Then we read about the billions of plundered funds by people who get special license plates for their plush luxury cars, who live in their grand mansions (mansions with an s), who openly cheat on their wives, who get bariatric surgery for their persistent weight problems, who seem exempt from the law, basically people like you. You in the Legislature, are afforded by the state with so much privilege and still it isn't enough. So of course we are angry. And to speak out angrily is all we will consider doing for now, because we are still decent people. If you think that by making your speech, you will somehow deflect our anger from yourself to others, you are mistaken. What you are accused of does not appear any smaller to us now. We want justice all the same. If you are innocent then make your case in court, if you are guilty, then prepare to pay for your crime. If you truly think it is an injustice for you to be singled out, then take all whom you know to be guilty with you. Like you, we too want justice to be dispensed fairly. 
We are disgusted by the corruption, which you have so generously attested to. We want to see it stopped now and all who are responsible be held accountable. We want to see this change within our lifetime. We want to live in a just, upright and progressive society where all citizens live a decent life and have access to his basic needs and where the government is run by just, upright and progressive people who will make this pursuit a priority. With all that has been said, none of it gives us any indication that this is your agenda. Ultimately, whether you like it or not, we will all be judged by our actions. Doesn't it worry you how history will portray you Senator Jinggoy Estrada?

Full Video of the Privilege Speech of Sen. Jose ‘Jinggoy’ Estrada on the ‘pork’ scam on 25 September 2013  

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