ocieties the world over
have always been fascinated by wealth. And nowhere is this more evident than
in the Philippines today. In fact, Filipinos seem to have gone beyond
fascination to actual adoration of anyone with a lot of money. And such
adulation is at some level, understandable. In a country where corruption is
pervasive and everything—as well as everyone—appears to be for sale, money
will put you above the law. Unlike countries such as the United States where
even a billionaire could end up behind bars, in the Philippines, the rich
get away with murder—literally.
Therefore why not be rich? Makes
sense doesn’t it? So a vast number of Pinoys make it a point to get
rich—quick! And there lies the problem. It is easier to make money
illegally rather than legally. Break the law, stack the deck, grease the
palms, buy off the regulators, give kickbacks; the ways to accumulate wealth
the wrong way are endless. Sadly, the number of Filipinos making money
illegally appears to have increased alarmingly over the years.
It is therefore only
logical that not just the media but the average Juan and Juana start asking
rich people how they made their fortunes. For example how was Bureau of
Customs clerk Paulino Elevado IV whose take home pay was less than P6,000.00
a month able to drive around in a Porsche? Instead of being awed, Elevado’s
friends and relatives should have asked him how he managed such a feat.
Another example was Ferdinand Marcos. According to his wife Imelda, they had
a trillion dollars in their Citibank New York bank accounts. Assuming this
was not another one of Imelda’s fantasies, the public should have asked: how
did a poor boy from Batac who supposedly had a full-time job running an
entire country manage to amass more wealth than say Warren Buffett, a
renowned businessman who works full-time at it and employs an army of
top-flight investment advisers to help him out? How was Marcos able to
out-Buffett, Buffett—singlehandedly, and all the while doing it on the side?
Instead of being impressed
with the fancy new car, or the Rolex watch, or the opulent mansion of a
friend or relative, Pinoys ought to be asking them how they managed to
afford those luxuries. In fact the whole country should be asking the same
question of all these sudden millionaires who gain untold wealth without
anyone having the slightest clue of how they do it. The Philippine press
ought to be leading the charge instead of lionizing the rich as most media
outfits do today.
In the context of
Philippine society today, a healthy dose of skepticism towards individuals
who are making tons of money is not uncalled for. These folks need to pass
some kind of “acid test” before they can be embraced by the public. And
public servants who make money while in office ought to be hauled off to
The Philippines will need
to put in place exceptionally tough laws to combat corruption given the lack
of ethics and morality in our society. And until that day comes when the
country has been effectively cleansed of it, you and I and everyone else
need to be asking the rich this question: “how did you get to be so rich?”
For much of the last month, my Facebook friends in Metro Manila have been posting comments lamenting their helplessness at being condemned to spend a great portion of what is left of their productive lives stuck in hours of traffic with no hope in sight. They now appreciate why Dan Brown described Manila in his book, Inferno, as “the gates of hell” specifically referring to its “six-hour traffic jams (and) suffocating pollution”.
Since 1620 when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, people the world over
have migrated to America in search of a better life. Filipinos are no
exception. In the '70s and '80s Filipinos who were able to, left for the
U.S. to escape the tyranny of the Marcos regime; today they leave is to
escape the poverty and the lack of opportunity in their homeland.
Whatever the reason, Filipino migrants quickly shed their old habits and
attitudes and embraced American culture.
Both United States and Philippine Governments to Blame for Death of Jeffery "Jennifer" Laude
The United States and Philippine governments share the blame for the tragedy. Two young lives needlessly destroyed: the first, a young Filipino transgender found strangled inside a motel bathroom; the second a teenaged American serviceman now accused of murder.
Death of Filipino Transgender 'Jennifer' Laude Was Totally Preventable
The evening for the young US Marine and his Filipino date "Jennifer" began at the Ambyanz Disco Bar in Subic Bay, Olongapo and ended shortly before midnight at the Celzone Lodge where "Jennifer's" lifeless body was found leaning against the toilet bowl. Jennifer, it turns out was actually not originally a "she" but a "he." A Filipino transgender, Jeffrey Laude, 26, began calling himself "Jennifer" after medical procedures made him look more female than male.
Sorry Mr. President But PNP Chief Alan Purisima Has to Go
What’s with Philippine civil servants these days? It seems that you can stick all their pictures on a wall; throw a dart; and whoever’s photo it land on, that person can be successfully prosecuted for graft. It is unbelievable how pervasive and widespread corruption has become. We go from one corruption scandal to the next and there seems to be no end in sight.
Tear Down the Torre de Manila Building Being Built Behind the Rizal Monument?
According to the developer’s website, “Torre de Manila, DMCI Homes’ newest one-tower condominium, is an exclusive residential community right in the heart of the city.” As of this writing, the 49-story edifice is about halfway complete. But as it continues to rise, so too do the howls of protest from an eclectic collection of groups and individuals who want it torn down. Why? Torre de Manila will permanently mar the skyline behind the Rizal Monument.
How Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law Continues Hurting Filipinos to This Day
On the evening of September 23, 1972, two days after it had taken effect, Ferdinand Marcos announced via live television from Malacañang Palace that he had placed the Philippines under Martial Law. It was a calculated move by a devious politician to keep himself in power beyond what the Constitution allowed. A staged ambush attempt against his Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile was the main excuse Marcos (or “Macoy” as he was deridingly referred to back then) used to strip Filipinos of all their constitutional rights. With that, the diminutive Ilocano from the backwaters of Batac, Ilocos Norte became the despotic dictator for over a decade.
Jejomar Binay Should Never Become President of the Philippines
In our July 25th editorial we asked if Vice President Jejomar Binay should be the next president of the Philippines. In this editorial we arrive at the definitive conclusion that that Binay should not be elected president. Since our last editorial, more witnesses have come forward with more allegations against the embattled Vice President. But our decision not to support Binay’s presidential bid is based on irrefutable public acts that in our opinion disqualify him from the presidency.