Secret musing

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

While I was sipping coffee in a midtown shop, a gentleman, apparently young in years, approached and asked me why my last column appeared to pontificate at our top government leaders. He probably was disturbed by what he read that he became too focused on it as to forget to introduce himself to me in that chance meeting of ours. Unsure of what he was talking about, I politely requested him what article did he refer to and his quick reply seemed to point to my write-up where I suggested that our top leaders and the private sector sit down in conference and map out a plan for monthly activities after the Sinulog, my obvious intention being solely for our city to have year-long celebrations that visitors might keep on coming.

Whatever was his beef, I allowed him to do almost a monologue and let off any steam that might be building within him. Why he felt challenged by my article, I did not know. Or did he represent someone who was slighted by my audacity to outline what could be done monthly after Sinulog when I have no authority to do so, I also did not bother to ask. After all, it was good for me to hear directly from a reader's mouth any adverse reaction to my simplistic opinions.

Can you imagine that the gentleman challenged me to run for any city elective position so that, according to him, if I manage to get elected, I should be the one to propose those ideas that I wrote about in my column? I should have been taken aghast by the proposal but since he did not sound sarcastic, I felt it was my duty to inform him that I served the city once upon a time and had no more intention of going back to politics.

I noticed that he was surprised by the information. It was easy then for me to conclude that he was either not a city elector when I was a councilor or was too young during that time to know me. "Once a po-litician, always a politician", he remarked when he pressed for specific reasons in my staying out of politics. His insistence gave me the opportunity I have been waiting for sometime.

1. An elective government position is too risky. To prove my point, I proposed to that gentleman that each time he should read a newspaper, he has to count the number of news items of government officials being hailed to the graft court, accused for diverse forms of corrupt practices. My word of caution to him was that he might be so startled by what he might know that it was good for him to be ready with me-dicine against heart attack.

Such number of cases has shot the roof. Many officials are facing charges for corruption. If the quantity of cases filed were the sole criterion, we could say that honest men are a rarity. We could surmise that there are more corrupt officials than honest ones.

2. It is a good sign that government is pro-active as shown by the increasing volume of graft charges leveled against officials. But, if the reports show that there are more government officials prosecuted for various offenses in the past few years, there too, are accompanying news items of acquittal. In other words, innocent officers have been unjustly accused of graft and corruption such that courts have no alternative but to dismiss the cases.

Prior to their acquittal, persons facing unjust pro-secutions have tarnished names. Society frowns at them and in their battle for justice, they bleed financially. Yet, when their innocence is finally decreed, they have fewer friends to turn to help them repair their mangled lives. They will remember that the indictments they have overcome were brought to the bar of justice simply because they were government officials. Had they kept distance from holding elective government positions, they would have not been so accused of wrong doings.

I told the gentleman that I am happy where I am. As private citizen, there is no danger of being prosecuted for anything. Why would I then "enter the dragon?"

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