A History of Lying

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view/20080225-121141/A-history-of-lying

EDITORIAL
Editorial : A history of lying

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: February 25, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” This line from Sir Walter Scott’s “Marmion” is uttered by the fictional English Lord Marmion after his deceitful schemes unravel. One reviewer has called Marmion “a thoroughly rotten man: a seducer, forger, liar, greedy for lands and not squeamish about how he acquires them.” (Does this remind you of some of our high government officials?)Marmion seduces Constance de Baverly and keeps her with him disguised as his page until he tires of her for the land-rich Clare de Clare. To break Clare’s engagement to Sir Ralph de Wilton, Marmion has Constance forge documents which convince King Henry VIII that Wilton is a traitor. Wilton flees in ignominy. Clare seeks sanctuary from Marmion’s advances with the abbess at Whitby in England.

Marmion turns Constance over to Benedictines who convict her of certain crimes and wall her up to starve to death. But before her death, she reveals the forgeries and other misdeeds of Marmion. Wilton returns and his and Marmion’s paths cross. But the abbess gives Wilton the exonerating documents and Marmion’s schemes unravel. Later, the Scottish and English forces meet in battle at Flodden Field, and Marmion is slain. The English win and the Scots are annihilated, losing everything but their honor.

The famous line of “Marmion” comes to mind when we recall the deceit, the dishonesty, the lying of high officials of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration just so it can remain in power. Like the English in “Marmion,” they may win the battle for survival, but will they still retain their honor?

President Arroyo promised at the Rizal Day commemoration in 2002 that she would not run in the presidential election of 2004. But she must have planned that early to run in that election. That was her first major lie. Several months later, she declared her candidacy for the presidency.

Ms Arroyo used all means, fair and foul, to win election. The opposition said she used government money, such as the P728-million fertilizer fund, to win votes. She used cards of the government’s Philippine Health Corp. and money of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in a similar manner.

But the most egregious instance of alleged cheating and dishonesty was the “Hello, Garci” incident where she is said to have asked a Commission on Elections official to pad her poll total by about a million votes. Administration spokespersons used all sorts of deception to deflect the charge.

Now here is the explosive ZTE national broadband network (NBN) deal in which a $130-million commission was supposed to go to certain “big people.” The proceedings of the Senate blue ribbon committee in its inquiry into the anomalous deal are a matter of public knowledge. The administration at first tried to keep key officials from testifying. Then it made them give evasive answers and often lie outright.

Just when it seemed that the inquiry had reached a dead end, the kidnapping of Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. took place. Again, key officials of the administration twisted facts and lied and tried to portray that they were protecting a key witness. The spokespersons and officials were soon caught in a web of contradictions.

Now comes President Arroyo saying she immediately cancelled the ZTE-NBN transaction when she learned about alleged irregularities tainting the deal. The fact is that early on, then-secretary of socioeconomic planning Romulo Neri told her about the bribe offer but she told him to refuse the bribe and continue with the deal. Was that the way a President, who is supposed to enforce the laws, should act in the face of an attempted commission of a crime?

The Arroyo administration has had a long history of dishonesty, deceit and lying. Its leaders are caught in a tangled web of deception. They have lost all moral authority to govern the nation.

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So what else is new?

 Source: http://www.malaya.com.ph/feb12/edit.htm

So what else is new?


Editorial

So what else is new under a govern-ment run by a criminal gang?

 

 

No credible threat has been established after all this time against the life of ZTE witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr. He said he has been receiving text messages threatening him harm. He has not volunteered his suspicion on where the threats came.

But this much is beyond dispute: On the day he was taken upon arrival from Hong Kong there was a clear threat to his liberty. And that was in the form of an arrest warrant issued by the Senate for his failure to appear before a hearing on the alleged corruption that attended the $329 million national broadband deal.

The conclusion, therefore, is that Lozada was taken into custody no less than by policemen – if we are to believe the testimony of police officials who appeared at yesterday’s hearing – to help him evade the Senate warrant servers waiting for him at the arrival area.

Is this now how agents of persons in authority treat the Senate, one of the two chambers that make up the legislative branch of government? Help a person – if indeed Lozada originally did not want to appear before the Senate – give the slip to the sheriffs?

Senate President Manny Villar was right in saying he resented the implications of what the policemen did to Lozada on those two days he was under their custody. Following the policemen’s logic, they would provide “protection,” zealously at that, to anybody who feels his liberty is threatened by a congressional arrest warrant.

Good that it dawned on Lozada himself that he would be safer in the custody of the Senate than being under the “protection” of armed men he did not know and who were bringing him to some unknown destination.

What if Lozada indeed did not want to appear before the Senate for fear he would be disclosing matters that would embarrass the powers that be, at the very least, or send them to jail, at the worst?

That was meant to be rhetorical question. For we know already know the answer or answers. Let’s name just two of them, namely, Joc Joc Bolante and Virgilio Garcillano.

Senate warrant servers in the case of the former and House servers in the case of the latter failed to take them into custody because of the Executive branch’s active role in hiding them. In the case of Bolante, he wanted to protect the identity of the mastermind in the P720 million fertilizer scam. In the case of Garcillano, he wanted to protect the identity of the woman who had been calling him to ensure her election margin of one million votes.

Now that we are talking about $130 million in kickback demanded by former election chair Benjamin and $70 million demanded by another who the witness could potentially identify, the wonder is Lozada did not end up in an unmarked grave in Laguna or Cavite.

So what else is new under a government run by a criminal gang?

Spit it out

EDITORIAL
Spit it out

Inquirer
Last updated 02:11am (Mla time) 09/07/2007
MANILA, Philippines — Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Or, perhaps more precisely, between the forbidding mountain of official loyalty and the Great Wall of personal conscience.

In media interviews he did not seek, answering questions he wished to avoid, Neri has suggested that something unusual took place in relation to the controversial $330-million contract, awarded to the Chinese firm ZTE, to create a National Broadband Network (NBN).

As the days drag on, and more details emerge, the controversy over the ZTE contract deepens. One of those details involves the alleged offer, to Neri, of a P200-million bribe. Asked on radio about it, Neri did not issue an outright denial — of the bribe offer, that is. Tellingly, he only said he was not the kind of person who accepted bribes. “I can’t do that. It will be [on] my conscience and I believe in bad karma.”

But did such an offer actually take place? “It’s really difficult for me to say yes or no,” he said. “It’s difficult to prove either way.”

Now this is interesting. Neri is no technocratic babe in this country’s overgrown political woods; he has served as budget secretary and, in Congress, as chief budget planning officer. He is no stranger to the stratagems of wily politicians. Surely he knows — in the depths of his conscience, where his belief in karma rests — when and whether a bribe is being offered or not.

We can understand his hesitation about proving a claim of bribery. The issue may well go down to his word against that of another official (whether of the Philippine government or the Chinese firm, we do not yet know for certain). That will be difficult to prove. But we cannot sympathize with his alleged difficulty in judging whether a bribe had in fact been offered or not.

Even if he was unsure then, surely the details that have emerged since now tell him that something was definitely amiss.

There is a good reason Neri is being sought for his comments. The board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), of which he was director general, approved the controversial plan to create yet another multibillion-peso information technology infrastructure for the government.

The NBN initiative, as approved, called for a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, which would not cost the government a single centavo. At one meeting with Chinese officials, he recalled the other day, he “clarified that this is the position of government at the time — no guarantee, no loan. It was shown in the NEDA board minutes.”

One of the inglorious mysteries of the NBN scandal, however, involves the sudden metamorphosis of the initiative from a BOT project to a government program funded by a government-sourced loan. How did this happen? “It’s the DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communication] that should answer,” Neri said.

This suggests that his answer to the question of whether a bribe was in fact offered to him — “It’s really difficult for me to say yes or no. It’s difficult to prove either way” — is a calibrated response. It is meant to negotiate that difficult passage between two impossible masters, to please both the requirements of official loyalty and the demands of personal conscience.

In this light, his repeated references during the interviews to Executive Order 464, which he says requires the President to sign off on his appearance before a legislative inquiry into the ZTE contract, seem to us to be a plea for help. He wants to be given permission to say what he knows.

To that, we say: Say what you know, with or without permission. When the bribe offer took place, turning it down was a triumph of personal conscience; not talking about it, or perhaps privately bringing it to the attention of higher officials, was an exercise in official loyalty.

Now that the sordid details of the ZTE contract have started to emerge, however, the dictates of conscience have changed. Now that the very thing Neri and other government officials loyal to the people wanted to avoid, namely, the imposition of yet another corruption-swollen debt on the government to fund what has become a questionable project, has become reality, the dictates of conscience require Neri to tell us, even at the cost of breaking his oath of loyalty to the administration, what he really knows.