“We can afford to buy properties,” Congressman Mikey Arroyo says. In his mind, probably, the kind of corrupt legacy associated with his family’s name is the direct result of them being rich and in power. It’s the kind of “inggit lang kayo” and “talk to my lawyer” complex often used to justify excess in the upper echelons of Government: if you can afford it, then you should. Never mind the irregularities or the anomalies. You can’t prove anything, and if it happens, everyone does it anyway. A persecution complex, if you will.
I think it was John F. Kennedy who once said, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” It’s not being wealthy that is the sin in a poor society, but the brazen act of flaunting it. What makes the Arroyos so damned and so despised for their wealth is that rather than clean the matters up, they rely on their power and wealth to force people to ignoring it and move on with their lives. Rather than be transparent, they choose to be opaque.
It’s like every cheating partner you’ll (hopefully never) meet in your life: “Sweetheart, di ko kailangang magpaliwanag. Move on na tayo.” Rather than have the closure you need to move on with our lives, we’re left with more questions than answers, and we’re left stewing. “Bakit mo ako pinagpalit? Bakit mo ako dinaya? Bakit mo ako laging iniiwan sa ere?”
The statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) does not speak for itself anymore, where documents are tampered with and doctored on a daily basis. Mikey wants us to trust his SALN, when we all live under the assumption that SALNs are doctored and tampered with on a daily basis for us to believe that our SUV-convoying Representatives live “simple lives.” Or that every document that circulates that refutes their claims are “character assassination” attempts. We are exhorted to trust standard operating procedures in Government, but that SOP has to involve fixers, kotong cops, and suhol for permits. We are exhorted to trust the vote, but we seem to always be at the short end of the stick when it comes to cheating. In short, we trust an Administration that has serious trust problems. And that has seeped into every door and backdoor of a Government that we can’t trust anymore.
While you have every right and responsibility to be rich in this country, if you’re in public office, you have every right and responsibility to tell the people where you got that wealth. That’s not something the Arroyos are doing, and something they’re not wont to do. It is part and parcel of good governance and prudence, of restoring trust in the system, and why they’re not doing it is beyond me. It’s not inggit, as much as it’s every reason for a romantic breakup: “Wala na kasi akong tiwala sa yo, dear. Cool off na lang tayo. Kung hindi, break na lang.”
Mikey and his family are not on the grindstone of public opinion because they’re rich, or because they’re Arroyos. We got cheated before, and some of us simply can’t trust them. The worst part is they’re now the victims.
Like every breakup, “Sige, ikaw na ang bida. Sige, ikaw na ang nasaktan.”