Dispatch from Crame No. 188: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on the corruption of Filipino values by officials in the Duterte government

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Grabe na ang korapsyon sa gobyerno. No, I don’t just mean corruption in government in the usual sense, but a more pervasive and invasive corruption of Filipino values that affects, not just our national coffers, but our national identity.

These days our well-preserved values are being corrupted, contaminated and thrown into the garbage by some random dirty old men like Salvador Panelo, who make the most inappropriately disgusting jokes during an interview he was giving as a government official. His lack of self-awareness, or perhaps his lack of shame, even prompted him to drag the image of unsuspecting female students of a well-known Catholic school for girls as having been subjected to his verbal acts of lasciviousness.

Even the Presidential Communications Secretary also recently made his own crass contribution to the corruption of the minds of our people, using words that should not be used in polite company, much less a public gathering in a foreign country.

But their actions and apparent mental state seem to be symptomatic of a prevalent corrupted mindset in our so-called government officials today: why be right when you can be wrong? Why be a good public servant when you can be a bad one? After all, even the President seems to get away with it.

To say that it is disturbing and revolting is an understatement – but that is not even the point: who do those people think they are to reverse several centuries’ worth of honing, preserving and passing on of our Filipino values?

There was a time when we, Filipinos, used to be known for being big on values. Despite being serially colonized by foreign powers, we’ve resisted imbibing attitudes that we deemed a betrayal of our own core values of being family-centric, of being respectful to one another, and serving as good role models for the Filipino youth (hence, why we keep using the words “ate”, “kuya”, “manong”, “manang”, etc., even in reference to people we aren’t related to). That was something we were particularly proud of.

And it’s not just for the sake of empty platitudes that we held on to those values. Sineseryoso natin ang pagiging mabuting halimbawa sa mga kabataan dahil alam natin na sila ang pag-asa at ang magtataguyod sa kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Kung tayo ay bulok, at bulok din ang ipapamana nating ugali sa kanila, aasa ba tayong magiging mabuti ang ipagbubunga nila sa hinaharap?

Sino sila para bastusin ang ating pagkatao bilang mga Pilipino?

They have no place in a civilized society, much less in the ranks of Philippine government officialdom. In a world that makes sense, they would already have been censured. In a world where these people even have an ounce of self-respect, they would have already publicly apologized and resigned.

Unfortunately, however, the truth is that they are just a reflection of the person they serve. No, they do not serve the Filipino people. They serve a baser master, one who revels in their obnoxious character and depravity. One who lets go of a man as decent as Secretary Abella.

With the departure of Sec. Abella, I fear the even further decline of the level of discourse and language we could expect from now on from the President and his men.

Truly, God save our country.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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