WE almost fell off our rickety chair when Donald Dee, or whoever is he, suddenly popped up on national TV brandishing an air filled with might and extraordinary confidence in a Malacañang press conference last October 29.
Shortly, Inquirer.net came up with the story: “PCCI’s Dee ‘scolds’ CBCP Head,” which opened with “The Chairman emeritus of The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) claimed to have reprimanded Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo over the phone over reports he called for a change in government due to allegations of massive corruption.”
The “scolding” continued: “Beyond that, let me say this very clearly archbishop, that business, we businessmen, need a calm environment to work in. With your statement, you can see that some groups with different agenda are moving.”
The “scolding” ended with: “The business leader said he asked Lagdameo to issue a rejoinder to which the prelate reportedly: I will try to do it.”
Honestly, we could not find any spontaneous reaction, even from our gut, perhaps in the same way that we are at a loss on how to retort in front of lies. We seemed like taken with a mixture of horror and mockery of how haughty one can become if only to hold on to the margins of power—and keep holding on even to the helms of shamelessness.
But Dee’s arrogance aside, the closest we can get to the “calm environment” that he envisions in business is the proverbial Japanese “Sanbiki no Saru” or the three wise monkeys that “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”—but in the context of one who is shrouded with the clutches of evil, as being party to a system that is corrupt.
Yet, this is not the stuff that a true businessman is made of, for how can business thrive in the face of massive corruption such as what is true in the country today where some big business had either to expatriate or die if not do business with corruption itself by learning to dance with the wolves.
It escapes our mind why foremost leaders of this country refuse to be aware of the reality of corruption in our midst. As in any malaise, the first step to healing is acceptance. The country cannot move forward while it is sick, despite calls of Malacañang to move on and let bygones be bygones. Business, too, cannot prosper while the country is grounded on a deep-seated malady as corruption—a social and moral cancer.
We cannot agree more to the observation hoisted by Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in his latest honest statement: “In the past few years up to today, we have watched how corruption has become endemic, massive, systemic and rampant in our politics. The faces and symptoms of corruption are overprized projects, multi-billion scams of various kinds, election manipulations, anomalous transactions, bribery of both high and low, unsolved murders of media practitioners. Corruption is a social and moral cancer!”