Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Hollywood becomes us

With all this talk about the Filipino General who was found to have stashed hundreds of millions in kickbacks, I think it's absolutely stupid for people to think that all will be well after this "big fish" has been caught. Why? First, because we know it's not just one Filipino General. Some people say the corruption is embedded in the entire chain of command. Second, because these Filipino general and his ilk are the people who have the gun in this country. They are the ones who keep the peace. It's naive to think that we can put them in jail. What do I mean? Well, here is a variation of the monologue of Colonel Nathan Jessup in the movie "A Few Good Men" .
Great movie -- the shock of recognition still gives me the shivers.

Imagine an AFP general speaking:

Take caution in your tone, Mr. Ombudsman. I'm a fair guy but this fucking heat is making me absolutely crazy. You wanna ask me about kickbacks? On the record, I tell you I discourage the practice in acordance with the Commanders directives; off the record, I tell you it`s an invaluable part of close military operations. And if it happens to go on without my knowledge, so be it. I run my unit how I run my unit. You wanna investigate me? Roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 communists that are trained to kill me, so don`t think for one second that you can come down here, flash your badge and make me nervous.

And imagine him on cross-examination by Simeon Marcelo:

General: You want answers?
Ombudsman: I think I'm entitled to them.
General: You want answers?
Ombudsman: I want the truth!
General: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Atty. Marcelo? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the foot soldiers and you curse corruption in the military. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that kickbacks, while reprehensible, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Ombudsman: Did you order the whitewash?
General: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.
Ombudsman: Did you order the whitewash?
General: You're goddamn right I did!!

Philippine society cannot turn against the excesses of its warrior class without risking the peace. Please tell me I'm wrong.


Poppycock said...

i certainly hope you're not right ...

Guy Rendon said...

This is hilarious!