WASHINGTON DC, United States – With the recent exposé by a corrupt former military official-turned-whistleblower, you might wonder: how can monumentally corrupt officials sleep soundly at night?
The simple answer is they don’t. They sleep but not soundly. They have nightmares, they don’t have dreams. They close their eyes shut but are anxiously awaiting waking up the next day to count their take from corrupt collections.
Public office has always been known to be a public trust. That’s what the law books and the statutes tell us. The ideal reason why a citizen runs for public office, accedes to be appointed to a public post, becomes a policeman or an enlisted recruit for the armed forces, or works for the government is to be able to serve the public and the flag.
Catastrophically, however, many of those who are elected or appointed as well as those who serve as policemen or part of the armed forces are in position not to serve the public trust but to put up their own personal funds and trusts.
Those whom you are supposed to trust, you cannot actually trust. Those who ought to earn the public’s trust have long engaged in schemes that dissipated public trust. Those who are protectors of the public do not protect others but only protect themselves, their interests and their amassed wealth.
Thus, you wonder, how can corrupt public officials sleep at night knowing that the wealth they amassed are ill-gotten and from dishonest means?
How can they go to bed, pray and sleep knowing that the monies they stole are gravely affecting the lives of those who truly depend on those funds or subsidies?
How can they go around society, on talk shows, on public speeches and on campaign trails knowing fully well they have cheated the very people eager to shake their hands and take their pictures?
How can monumentally corrupt Armed Forces officials retire at night and soundly sleep when the hundreds of millions they siphoned off into their own domestic and foreign bank accounts have deprived thousands of soldiers, sailors, pilots and marines of their well-deserved pay?
How can these fake protectors of national peace go about the day and project a supposed honest and upright image when the cash they commissioned off came from the retirement and pension funds of old, ailing former foot soldiers who, unlike them, truly served and fought for the country?
How can military higher-ups face their own men and deliver “inspiring messages” or “stirring speeches” when the funding they silently looted deprived soldiers of new boots, new raincoats, upgraded equipment, increased munition, more bullets and better vehicles?
How can military leaders whose allegiance shifted from Joseph Estrada to Gloria Arroyo and now to Noynoy Aquino pretend to be paragons of gentlemanly virtues when the massive amounts they corrupted have caused the deaths of many soldiers in the battlefields?
How can these same disloyal military leaders ask rank-and-file soldiers to model after them when they are in fact insidious, treacherous, uncaring and self-profiteering?
How can they attend mass on Sundays, profess their faiths, take Holy Communion and undergo confession when almost everything about their public service is a blatant lie?
How can these corrupt public officials have the temerity to send their children to Ateneo, La Salle, the University of the Philippines and other top (and expensive, mostly) elitist schools when the very source of such tuition fees are ill-gotten people’s money?
How can they even have the courage to send such private-schooled children to top universities abroad when the obscene amounts needed for tuition fees, books, food, board and lodging were ill-amassed and led to hundreds of other kids not going to high school at all?
How can such wayward officials feed their families every day with good food, healthy drinks, fresh milk, sumptuous fruits and full course meals when their bad acts in public office have deprived hundreds of other families the right to basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing?
How can the annual income of these unethical and immoral individuals suddenly shoot up when they don’t necessarily have large businesses or very high-paying positions that can justify the tremendous jump in assets?
How can the top military brass under different presidents purchase expansive mansions, expensive condo units and fleets of imported cars when the average lowly soldier cannot even buy a single-story house and lot due to the meagerness of pay?
How can the military claim it is protecting and nurturing its soldiers when its own AFP Medical Center seems to lack facilities, equipment and manpower to adequately serve injured or dying soldiers?
How can such people flaunt a conscience when there is none? How can they parade leisurely and very comfortable lives when their luxury deprived others of life’s basics?
How can they convert funds from legitimate, programmed expenses into illegitimate, under-the-table payoffs and still call themselves defenders and protectors of the public?
Most especially, how can they use the faulty and pernicious excuse “I don’t recall” when confronted about past corrupt acts?
Retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa’s confession and whistleblowing initiative deserve commendation, no doubt. Despite the fact that he himself is corrupt and on the take, at least he admitted it and implicated top officers in the Armed Forces in the process. He may not be the least guilty, as he is part of the “comptroller mafia”, but he still pointed out those equally as guilty as himself. But other than exposing corruption, he ought to apologize for his grave misdeeds.
Nevermind what his intentions are. It maybe because his recent stroke engendered an epiphany inside of him. Maybe he saw angels when he was sick. Perhaps because his wife is sick. Perhaps it’s the calling of conscience or the immediate need for repentance. Maybe the change of leaders in government convinced him it was time for some honesty. Maybe because he lost in a 2007 election. Whatever it is, he is the new face of whistleblowing.
I just hope that the whistle he’s blowing is accurate. Because the last thing we need is a high level military official whistleblowing on mega million corruption and then retracting it at a later time. Hopefully, his conscience, however miniscule, will prevail over the dark and entrenched culture of corruption.
The author is a lawyer & writer based in Washington, DC, and educated by Georgetown Law
(cand.), the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton (Cert.Bus.), Kyushu University, and UP.
firstname.lastname@example.org or https://look-to-the-east.blogspot.com.