AY Tungpalan: ‘Legal Thieves’

(The following is a most worthy contribution from Prof. Andres Y. Tungpalan, president of the Federation of Government Employees Associations in Region I. He is also immediate past president of the Philippine National Confederation of Faculty Associations of State Universities and Colleges. He is currently administrative officer of Mariano Marcos State University.  Read on.)

MAN IS BORNE basically out of nothing, but his ingenuity and the dictates of the environment made him aspire for honor, prestige, and, most of all, the material world.

As the election fever yet again turns up within the corner, people aspiring for power, again, can steal the minds and thoughts of the people through the radiance of money and promises, hence, the canny and once munificent and affluent can take again the power and be capable of legitimizing their corrupt practices to perpetuate their unrelenting thirst for power.

Looking at the present scenario, anyone in the society, even the unschooled people, could attest that money alone can buy power but not intellectual capacity, which is supposed to be the dictum. No wonder, political dynasty is a dream that perpetuates to date, not unless a radical transformation of the mind and culture ensues to avert this scenario. In this society, the well-off people are privileged to have access to power and provide overriding authority to illegally acquired wealth and possessions that fuel the authority to monopolize the resources of this country.

Many have been written about some of our legislators and local leaders: how they enrich themselves through illegal means. The CDF derived through taxes of the poor were legally obtained and transfused to their personal accounts through scheming means. Yet, though we declare this a taboo, the practice persists, and has become alluring.

Our lawmakers, except a few, continue to legally acquire assets and fame at the expense of illegal connections and influential businessmen to pave the way to amassed wealth, which connotes power and authority.

Some politicians and leaders both in the local and national settings have legally transformed this country into a Kingdom of Thieves as evidenced by continuing corruption and mounting ill-gotten wealth. Many leaders fail in the long term because they reject criticisms, and, ergo, do not change their ways. Rather, they became too arrogant and the master and slave mentality continues to pester them to the extent of uttering tactless, kingly words that demean people. They are genuine exemplars of people who are “thirsty for power,” not recognizing that, in the end, we will be adjudged as brothers and sisters in the eyes of our creator.

Certain leaders seem to own government resources, people subordinates, facilities and the like, not withstanding that they are only caretakers of public property. Some leaders and their assistants behave as if they have the liberty to lie and legally steal the properties and riches of the land, enjoying the luxuries at the expense of their rank and file.

Truly, while there may be leaders with good conscience, their chosen implementers often violate their authority. Some assistants more often behave diversely especially if given by their masters the authority to direct their respective domains. They seem to act more as masters than their superiors, inflating their means to amaze their true masters. The means of attaining their wants are more automated, greasy, and spontaneous. Access to logistics, travels and the like is undeniably no-sweat.

They often say that in order for people to save, they must learn to be frugal in their means but this oftentimes has the concealed purpose to mislead at the expense of their personal luxuries. They repeatedly say, “Save for the future,” but their lifestyles are more royal than the royals’. I could hardly believe that people in power and people who get higher remuneration tend to steal more. But when a “small fry” does his thing, based from his intent to live a better life, he gets easily persecuted.

My daughter frequently asks why some people, mainly leaders and their assistants, steal. I find it difficult to utter that they do so because of their scandalously extravagant lifestyles, which eventually branch out to their wants and needs.

It reminds me of my theology professor who once mentioned that man was borne to suffer; i.e. when one lives to suffer for the sake of the poor, the powerless and the weak, then he deserves the rewards of eternal life. Do some authoritarian people recognize the fact they live in a world of fancy? That once they finish their term, which is certainly inescapable, they will repeat the cycle of life begging once more for mercy, repenting for their sins. Judgment will come and let it be.

Why do you think some simple heads of offices are better off than their subordinates? It’s because these people can sow fear of reprisal in them for simple mistakes. On the contrary, they are role models of corruption by stealing entrusted resources to them, big and small. They are the people who make themselves miserable because of the lack of contentment in their lives. They give way to the carnal mind when all they seek are the delights and satisfaction of their senses.

It is appalling to note that some of us have so much wealth while the majority of people have too little for survival. The world should start living with just enough and not with a surfeit of everything.

I’m not implying that everything here on earth is evil, but it takes a lot of transformation and it’s just a matter of finding ways to live a life within the doctrine of our faith, so we won’t get dragged down to an acquisitive and opportunistic way of life.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

8 thoughts on “AY Tungpalan: ‘Legal Thieves’”

  1. Hard work, dedication and the charismatic imprints are the ingredients that make a blogsite successful. I congratulate sir Herdy for his hard work and dedication to sustain this blogsite! He has won the hearts of many intellectual writers, posters, including some dignitaries, leaders in politics and other organizations.

    I’m somehow feel depressed that so many of us always cry out in the wilderness for policy changes in governance for the past decades, yet somehow we seem to return back to Ground Zero! Our government leaders are simply advocating empty promises and rhetorics. Their sights of governance are myopic, they cannot even look beyond a year to look for the improvement of our electric power shortage! Kung kailan nagkaka-brown-out tsaka gagawa ng planong remedial measures – radical pa: Special Powers for the president! Ngek! Para magkaroon ng maraming IPP contracts na ‘palabigasan para sa pundo ng election campaign ng kasamahan’…

    1. @asiong Marcos had many faults and excesses, but ‘not having a vision’, or ‘being myopic’ as you put it, is not among them. The Apo was a visionary. Over baseless fears, his opponents stopped the Bataan Nuclear power Plant project, and let the plant rot over the years. Today, people are rethinking about it. hmmm

      Above all, Marcos was a social engineer, Ang Bagong Lipunan was far from utopic, but it was very clear to him who the Filipino is, and what Philippine society should be.

  2. amen..he had soo many projects that people thought it was waste of money but all his projects were being utilized and put to good use and many people are benefitting from it.

  3. Yeah, sure! I adore Apo Marcos. No Ilocano worth his salt would not admire his vision and accomplishments. He was trying to make adjustments from a US democratic to that of authoritarian, not unlike Lee Kwan Yu’s Singapore. But of course, oppositionists would not like someone to lead the country for so long a time. But, seriously, we see that most developing countries do well with authoritarian rule than democratic! Even those former colonizers who used to be authoritarian and ruled by monarchs who now has democratic government are having difficulties, like the fragmented republics of former USSR, Rome, Spain and Portugal.

  4. I never forget my Ilocano roots in blood and in deed but it looks like we are pushing the envelope too far and too hard for the benefits of our beloved Apo Macoy. This is getting to be a regionalistic grandstanding of patriotism because of his legacy.

    I found it difficult especially our “kumpadres” in Ilocos if you stay opposite against his accomplishment and legacy of our country.
    While it is true that he built the longest road infrastructure of the country it should just make sense since he stayed in power for more than 20 years. While it is true that he revoked the old constitution and framed a new one under his own political party KBL then this make sense to perpetuate his presidentail power. While it is true that he crafted martial law to silence, incarcerate, and torture his critics, it just make sense to perpetuate the theory of one dominant political party. While it is true in his vision to built the first Nuclear Plant in our country then it just make sense as a source of corruption to those high ranking officials associated to his party. While it is true in his endless speeches preaching free enterprise in a democratic society, then it make sense that his corporate raiders are busy taking over private entities as their milking cow. While it is true that they could broadcast press releases at any time of the day for favorable public consumption, it would make sense since they control most of the major media outlets…should I tell you more.

    Sir Herdy- Do you really think that the declaration of bagong lipunan during his administration would bring our country to la la land? There was no quantifiable good result of the organization, quite the opposite of a utopic never never land. The Bagong Lipunan would be the “knight and shining armor” for the Filipinos. Really? The organization was created as a concealment to conduct their business in private ala “window dressing.” In restropect it will never be as success due to martial law rule, one dominant political system, authoritarian rule, and rampant corruptions.

  5. Hey Bill,
    Just that I give credence to the authoritarian form of governance in Singapore. There are also some oppositionists there in Singapore and have read also some of their underground tabloids, not unlike the ones printed during Martial Law days here in Pinas. Singapore is a highly-discipline state, bawal magtapon ng sigarilyo, fines are imposed for having mosquitoes in your own abode; with citizens having no permanent land ownerships. The government provides low-cost housing, employment, basic needs, etc, but the elite families of Lee and partymates are the ones who “owns” the City State. They dictate how to use the meager land area which is just the size of Ilocos Area. There are no farmlands; lands are made for industrial, commercial, as well as tourism. And the country is a showcase of prosperity.

    1. The day I was most law-abiding was when I visited Singapore. I was even afraid that my hair would fall.. and I would be charged a huge fine, hehe

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