IT was all heart that got Gilas Pilipinas to beat South Korea in a game that truly mattered for basketball pride and honor of the nation. We were united for a moment, shouting our lungs out to egg our team to gain back their composure with the injury of naturalized center Marcus Douthit. With Douthit riding the bench, it was an all-Filipino five that engineered the return to center stage for a team created, molded and nurtured by a man called MVP and a bench tactician named Chot. It was championship caliber play Saturday night with an 86-79 victory. More than anything, it was personal for every Filipino in the SMX Arena for we have not beaten South Korea for that long. Defeating South Korea ensured our ticket to Spain for the FIBA World Championships.

Anyare is a Filipino, street term loosely translated as “what happened?” It is a shortened word of the phrase anong nangyari. The usual answer would have been nganga, Filipino street term to mean none. And really, from 22 July when BSA3 delivered his 3rd SONA, it was all down the hill, err, slippery slope.

With so many things happening all at the same time and so many spins going left and right at dizzying phase, I am left with this expression. Anyare? Anyare sa Tuwid na Daan? Anyare sa Kung Walang Korupt, Walang Mahirap? Anyare sa Inekon? Anyare sa US basing rights? Anyare sa DBM? Anyare sa COA? Anyare kay Napoles? Anyare, Liberal Party? Anyare, Speaker Belmonte and Senate President Drilon? Since nobody cared to explain and directly address the issue, with the most direct response coming from the head of the Senate suggesting, “abolish Congress”, the people have decided to join the National Heroes Day event of the leaderless million. Then what? We chant like the audience of gladiators in some distant lifetime: kill, kill, kill. Anyare?

When the middle class shows up, dangerous paths open. When the middle class gets riled up, our nation weeps and struggles to find our balance.

It’s hard to come up with this column when you know the dark clouds are in the horizon and here we are again, in our historical crossroads, do we even cross the line? And then what?

But how do we search for truth? COA parses the truth. DBM plays dumb. President is all fire and brimstone abolishing pork with co-equal leaders by his side in a seemingly public display of unity and yet, seconds after, the Speaker is saying another thing; the Senate President is suggesting abolition of Congress. And these are our leaders? I so missed the statesmen and women of Congress of the old and bygone era.

How do we even get to the negotiating table and find a solution? How do we trust each other? How do we start a conversation?

Whoever orchestrated the hailstorm has knocked out several 2016 personalities in the process. They have covered the proximate cause, Inekon. But they have created a ghoulish shadow that silently sashays its way around town, knocking on doors and opening more Pandoras in the process.

The hailstorm has gone beyond and has led to a stalemate where weak institutions could crumble by the national oink rage. Three years hence and we have the largest corruption scandal in our midst and it is just the tip. Sad, but there is no turning back for the leader who won on anti-corruption stance. You either unsheathe Arthur’s sword and slay the monster come what may or destroy the inherited legacy. I was once told that the leader wanted to have a clean name than see through big infra contracts. Those remarks made me think; was it for love of country that the leader ran or was it because the leader was assured it will be an easy win and best ride?

Has someone informed the leader that the most powerful position is the loneliest position in this land of ours? Where decisions will have to be made because of character and not reputation attached to a name? Abraham Lincoln once said, “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Not all pork barrel allocations are bad. Sadly though, among the decent politicians, no one wants to stand up to say so. The freshmen in the House of Representatives, untainted yet, are not even taking the cudgels for the institution. The citizens turned senators, newly minted at that are lying low. At the other end of the spectrum, we have mad taxpayers talking of several kinds of revolt just to get government’s attention and really walk the talk.

We have to appeal to reason and find a common ground. But first, one has to understand what discretionary fund, entitlements and influencing the system for kickbacks are. Yes, it is true that the power of the purse is with Congress and only Congress can abolish pork. It is also Congress that can reform presidential pork and judicial pork but the whole budget is not pork! Reform, transform and perform should be the new norm in the last three years. As to citizenship, we have to be involved, engaged and enabled.

Government must not show hubris and can’t use the old blame game routine. Confront the issues and work out solutions but one can’t sustain involve, engage and enable without the Freedom of Information in place. That’s the sunshine the leaderless million need; it is after all the people’s money.

The previous dispensation never promised anti-corruption. This administration campaigned, ran and won under it and made it the central program of government. It is the social contract they offered the voters. Let’s have less of anyare moments and more of commitment and political will to see things through.

And by the way, offering a reward ain’t right because it shows the inutility of government in getting things done. And we are not even discussing prosecuting and jailing the malefactors!


Published in Manila Times, August 28, 2013:

About the Author
Malou Tiqiua is the Founder/General Manager of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. A noted political management expert in the Philippines and Asia, she brings over 20 years of professional experience in public, private and the academe combined. Author of the comprehensive book on electoral campaigns in the Philippines, "Campaign Politics", Malou is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Political Science degree and a Master of Public Administration. She completed her second master's degree (MA in Political Management) from the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University.
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