Plunder is simply an act of amassing any amount of money or fortune for one’s own benefit and in simple layman’s term it’s an act of thievery; plain and simple. The sentence that was meted out on a memorable September 12, 2007 shows that justice, no matter how long it takes will definitely prevail, and when it does, there’s nothing uanfair about its verdict.
Seven years has passed since Erap’s ouster and it proves that the fated mass action against him has prevailed and bore fruit despite the unfavourable responses of the Filipino poor, despite his faults after all, he’s generous and they adore him for that. Justice however demands accountability for his actions, where did he get all his money for his frivolous and pompous lifestyle? Gallant as he is, he outrightly stole from the coffers of the people, stealing from the very same poor people he pretends to serve. Whatever his and his peers definition of justice is, true justice still prevailed, that he is in the wrong and he deserves the retribution it asks, lifetime imprisonment.
Popularity has nothing to do with justice, and Erap’s verdict clearly shows it. While he and his allies continually deny the allegations of his crime, it his apparent lack of judgment that got the better out of him. Despite his melodramatic display of supposed innocence and the outright support of his subjects, he blew it when he actually admitted he signed the fated Jose Velarde signature and made this statement “mas mabuti pang magnakaw ng pera kesa mandaya ng boto” (it’s better to steal than cheat the electorate). Furthermore, it is his dim-witted display of gallantry that hits the final nail to the coffin; while his ouster is a political act, his verdict is vox dei, albeit non vox populi.
It is rather sad that his supporters couldn’t accept the verdict and blame the current administration for his downfall, but this is all madness, why condone a criminal? Sure, everybody loves Robin Hood, but Robin is nothing but a common thief who feeds the poor with stolen meat, and there’s nothing heroic about it. The real hero of the story is Ole King Richard the Lionhearted who finally came to his senses and returned to his country to serve it with justice instead of fighting it all out in the absurd Crusades. Erap is no Robin Hood either, he’s more or less Prince John who cavorts the nation’s riches while giving out a measly portion to the masses to prove his salt’s worth.
The Sandigang Bayan’s verdict is convolutedly tainted nevertheless with politics. As mentioned before, Erap’s ouster was initiated by politicians who wanted the very same post he held and similarly implemented with various politically hungry organizations (i.e. the Catholic Church and the segmented Left) who none-the-less cavort the same powers he once held. To make matters worse, the very same people who accused him are now his political allies making him the worst fool of history. Not only did he share the same bed with the enemy, he picked the wrong ones for his allies; they needed his popularity and his misfortune for their own ambitions while at the same time, sneering off his state. Quoting his lap dog Ping Lacson, his merry band of pundits is nothing more than a bunch of political mongrels who readily bites the hands the feed them once the opportunity arise.
Another mockery of justice lies with the Filipino people who not only condone corruption but cries justice at the same time. The Filipino readily gives out his measly portion to the ever-hungry corrupt to enjoy a certain level of contentment while contemptuously condemn the latter for its illicit transaction. This show of idiosyncrasy simply proves that we don’t grasp the full meaning of justice - the simple knowledge of right and wrong. We know stealing is not right, why condone it, why choose a leader when we know he/she is corrupt? Would it be that he/she is generous and gallant that we could conceal his/her actions? It is of no wonder why we couldn’t progress because we don’t deserve it. Perhaps if we could retune our common senses that we could go back in track and succeed.
With all this excitement, may the September 12 verdict be a lesson to us all; not only is Erap guilty of plunder, we are also guilty of absolute stupidity.