to people from Western cultures, we Filipinos tend to lie a lot more.
It's a reality we Filipinos have to face throughout our lives. Lying is
so ubiquitous in our culture that oftentimes we do it unconsciously.
From fibs and little white lies to more egregious dishonest acts like
fraud and deceit, if you're a Pinoy, you just have to put up with more
of it. Some would argue that it is actually worse in some countries. And
while that may be true, there are still a lot more countries where it is
parents lie to kids, teachers lie to students, movie actors and
celebrities lie to their fans, employers lie to their employees, local
politicians lie to their constituents, and of course national political
figures lie to the entire country.
Admittedly, lies are
sometimes made with the noblest of intentions; those lied to are either
too young, too old, too unsophisticated, too fragile, too immature, or
too "whatever" to handle the truth. So instead they are told lies or
Agarao and the Liberal Party
Take for example Laguna
Congressman Benjamin Agarao who gave a big birthday bash at his home to
celebrate his 58th birthday. The event was attended by many Liberal
Party (LP) stalwarts including the party's presidential nominee, Senator
Mar Roxas. One of Agarao's guests with decidedly juvenile taste decided
he would surprise the celebrant and hired a dace group made up of
scantily-clad young women called the Playgirls to perform during the
party. Unfortunately the performance was more appropriate for bachelor
or stag parties than for Agarao's birthday bash where young children,
women, and most importantly the press were present.
Agarao says he has no
idea who invited the Playgirls to perform at his party. This is of
course a lie and Agaro is a liar. Of course he knows who invited the
group—and if he doesn't all he has to do is ask his staff. So this is an
example of a politician deciding that it is better to hide the truth
from the people. This is so typically Filipino, and Agarao is a typical
lying Filipino politician.
We'd like to make this
point very clear: we have issues with the lying and cover-up, and not
with the dance itself, lewd though it was. Remember that U.S. President
Richard Nixon was impeached not because he was involved with the
Watergate break-in. He wasn't. But we was involved with its
cover-up—that is what ended his presidency.
So far the entire
Liberal Party seems to have developed collective amnesia. No one
remembers or wants to remember Agarao's birthday bash. They're hoping
the public develops amnesia as well. Shortly, after the incident Senate
President Franklin Drillon another LP stalwart promised to get to the
bottom of this issue. At this point in time that's also another lie.
Sadly this incident
also gives Filipinos a glimpse of what a Roxas administration will be
like, should he win. And what we see is disheartening. Like all previous
Philippine administrations, it will lack transparency, it will actively
use lies to obfuscate the truth or "sweep things under the rug," and
Filipinos will again be left in the lurch not knowing or understanding
what really is going on in their country.
Another example is
Miriam Defensor Santiago, a career politician who, like the typical
politician she is, is used to keeping the Filipino people in the dark.
we noted in our previous editorial, she suffers from hypertension and
claims she had stage-four cancer. Her hypertension appears to be under
control (and that's good news) and her stage-four cancer is gone—or in
remission (and that's even better news). But as we noted previously, we
find this good news just too hard to believe.
To make matters worse,
Santiago has refused to make any of her medical records public. She
wants the public to just take her word for it. What we find incredulous
is that she went from having no cancer, to stage-four cancer, and back
to having no cancer again, in such a short span of time. It is almost
like she just made it all up. What about chemotherapy? Did her hair ever
fall off? If so, does she have any pictures that show her without her
usual frizzy top?
So far she's released
nothing about her medical condition—even though she's now running for
president and the public has the right to be told the true medical
someone who might be the next president.
Here's the bottom line:
until we Filipinos finally say "stop it" to our fellow kabayans as well
as to ourselves, and put an end to all this lying, we will remain stuck
in the quagmire we are in. Our situation can never improve because there
is no transparency, at home, in school, at work, in government, or
anywhere else. We are thus forced into making decisions based on
half-truths and outright lies. And that's not the way to move forward.