The recent decision granting bail to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile on humanitarian grounds and the latest announcement of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to open up ‘balikbayan’ boxes for inspection in a bid to curb the smuggling of taxable goods are two acts that do not really sit well to many Filipinos who wants government to do the right things.
What I mean is that we seemed to have been making the right move by asking people to avoid the mistake of voting into office corrupt presidential and vice presidential candidates during the 2016 elections so that whatever development and growth the country has undergone can be sustained and even made faster and loftier.
We all welcome the positive direction the country is heading brought about by political will with the most noted corrupt legislators being detained for their involvement in the scandalous pork barrel scam, this, after no less than the chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC) had been impeached.
But with Enrile now stepping out free from hospital arrest for humanitarian consideration, being old and ailing, and not for any legal grounds, surely smack of deception, double-dealing and mockery of justice.
Note that Enrile is being charged with, supposedly, a non-bailable offense of graft and plunder for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, but has posted a P1.4-million bail that the SC justices upheld.
So, are we saying now that if one is old and ailing, but does not have the money to pay for his release, like the many that are languishing in jail today who are even more deserving of freedom, that that person will rot in jail while the rich gets freed?
What is even worse is that Enrile is being harnessed back to work, as if we miss him in the senate.
If Enrile is old and ailing and the SC is really bent on twisting the law to favor the rich, then why not just let him go home to be taken care of by family and fade away, instead of his presence in the senate constantly reminding the people what money and clout can do to regain one’s freedom and seat despite advanced age and failing health?
Talking about an injustice and an ugly precedent that will certainly open the doors to freedom for Enrile’s cohorts/disciples, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.
Another unfair treatment that many Filipinos are about to experience is what the BOC wants to do with the ‘balikbayan’ boxes sent by oversea workers for their families.
On the pretext that it will save money for the government coffers, some BOC officials want the boxes opened up and inspected in case some contrabands are found together with the goodies being sent to their loved ones.
Of course there will be contrabands, like brand new items, being sent because one could not just keep on sending used items, for chrissake! Would that be considered a crime?
How about asking these gung-ho customs officials to put themselves in the shoe of every OFWs, who are fighting all kinds of adversities abroad just so they could improve the quality of life his or her family is having in the country, if they themselves will be happy to have members of their family deprived of new, good, useful things that they never experienced having before?
Seeing the happy faces of your love ones and hearing their appreciation for the things sent is enough prize being out there working your butt off. It is the most that one can do in place of one’s absence – their happiness and well-being are yours to enjoy, too, despite the pangs of loneliness suffered by both sides.
That is all there is to it.
The problem with some customs officials is that they think that, like them, the OFWs are corrupt, too.
Well, if the customs people will only do their job the way God intends them to do and the way people expects them to pursue, going after big time smugglers and unscrupulous businessmen without fear or favor, they will not only earn the respect of the people as an honest agency of government, but will also be reaping honors for helping government make money.
The ‘balikbayan’ boxes should be acknowledged as symbols of sweat and tears and should not be tampered with.
Give the OFWs a break!!!