John Bertiz and a Flawed Filipino Culture

John Bertiz and other Filipinos who act and behave badly, and cause the persistence of a flawed culture are a disgrace to the Philippines.

ACT-OFW party-list representative Aniceto "John" Bertiz got himself into controversy after a video of him breaching security protocols at, and forcibly flaunting his identification card to and taking the employee identification card of a security officer of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport surfaced recently, with him going even further by allegedly calling Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal to have said airport employee fired. Bertiz claimed that he acted in such fashion after seeing the said security officer and other airport employees allegedly "accompanying 'Chinese-looking personalities' beyond the security line." His allegation had since been proven false by the Manila International Airport Authority and the Office of Transportation Security, both of which showed two closed circuit television videos of the same area, even comparing how Bertiz behaved and acted to Governor Imee Marcos, who was at the arrival area of the airport at the same time as Bertiz but she followed security protocols. This caused Bertiz to apologize to the public, claiming that he acted and behaved in such fashion due to stress like as if he was "having a monthly period," but he still refused to talk and apologize to airport and transport officials and employees.

This is not the first time that Bertiz had been the subject of news reports for the worst possible reasons. In 2017, he filed a petition before the Supreme Court asking to immediately stop the implementation and questioning the constitutionality of the P836-million Land Transportation Office (LTO) five-year driver's license cards project because, according to him, "it was publicly bidded out despite the absence of legally appropriated funds under the national budget.” A few months ago, Bertiz, then substituting for Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go, met heavy criticism when he asked new agricultural and biosystems engineers during an event if they know Secretary Go, but when some members of the audience answered in the negative, he jokingly replied, "O, wag na nating ituloy ‘to. Wag na nating bigyan ng mga lisensya ‘to. Ulitin ko ha: ‘yung di nakakakilala kay Secretary Bong Go walang PRC license mamaya." Another video of him was released recently, showing him engaging a Filipino expatriate worker in an intense argument during a small gathering of Filipinos in Hong Kong, with him accusing the latter of being an "undocumented worker" because he found work in the city without having to go through a recruitment agency.

Frankly speaking, Bertiz is a disgrace to the House of Representatives not only due to the way he acts and behaves, but also because of how he abused the privileges that accompany his position. Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should show that he control over members of the House from both sides of the aisle by subjecting the likes of Bertiz to disciplinary action. President Duterte and Secretary Go should also distance themselves from Bertiz, who claims to be an ally of the current administration.

However, Bertiz is actually a manifestation of a flawed Filipino culture. He is not the first and the last Filipino to abuse his privilege or tap into of his ties with family or relatives, friends, neighbors, classmates, club or fraternity or sorority members and church members, and regional affiliations to get ahead of others and take advantage of the situation. He is not the first and the last Filipino who has no respect for rules and regulations, and uttered the notorious line, "Kilala mo ba ako?"

While we criticize Bertiz for his actions and behavior, we should first ask ourselves if he actually a mirror image of us, if we do or did the same thing that he did or acted in the same manner as he did. We have no right to throw the stones at him if we are exactly like him and we condone the flawed Filipino culture for which he is a manifestation of. If we partake in the same flawed culture as Bertiz and we do not want to change things, then we are only making things worse and we are proving to the rest of the world that Filipinos have no regard for the rule of law and are borderline anarchists, and the Philippines is a country where laws are nothing but mere suggestions that any one, from the elite to the masses, can deliberately ignore.

John Bertiz and other Filipinos who act and behave badly, and cause the persistence of a flawed culture are a disgrace to the Philippines.


About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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