If only our sinful politicians could be like Judas
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-04-05
This Holy Week, Church leaders should focus the attention of our sinful traditional politicians on Judas Iscariot instead of Jesus Christ. It is not just because our sinful traditional politicians are the least likely to learn from the example of Christ. It is simply because Judas Iscariot was better than most of our sinful traditional politicians.

Biblical facts will bear me out. Let me elucidate you, as follows:

1. Both Judas and most of our sinful politicians betrayed a trust.

2. Both Judas and most our sinful politicians deviated from their rightful path.

3. But Judas betrayed for patriotic reasons while most of our sinful politicians betray people and country for their own selfish ends.

4. Judas had a conscience and that pushed him to hang himself. People without a conscience do not suffer the persecution from their guilt. Our country has been exploited and abused by more or less the same political families so one can’t say these predators have a conscience if up to now they have not felt remorse and changed their ways.

5. Judas was sincere in his remorse — he offered to return the 30 pieces of silver if only to stop the damage he had instigated. We have yet to see one of our sinful traditional politicians repent and offer to return their loot. We have yet to see one admit guilt.

The failure of Judas Iscariot was in missing the larger objective. Judas failed to recognize the real mission of Christ and pandered only to his intense desire to drive the Romans from his native land. Remove the Christ element from the story of Judas and you will end up proclaiming Judas a patriot and a hero, no different from the mold of Scotland’s William Wallace.

Patriotism, not perfidy, had driven Judas to do what many Christian believers today think as the unthinkable deed. In contrast, many of our sinful politicians would find it easy to keep the 30 pieces of silver and lie about their crime before moving on to look for the next victim. Neither driven by patriotism nor religious ardor, there is nothing that will justify their iniquity and their crime against their own kind. The very people they vowed to serve are the very victims of their rapacious greed for power and wealth.

A number of them studied in such Catholic schools as the Jesuit Ateneo University. Yet instead of becoming the "men for others" that Ateneo Blue Eagles pride themselves to be — they have degenerated into the abominable Blue Vultures who now seem to relish the hunt even more as their prey — the Filipino poor — plunge deeper into sub-human living conditions.

In the Ateneo, the Jesuits always emphasized that stealing P10 from a beggar is the more grievous sin compared to stealing P1 million from a wealthy man. The P10 stolen from the beggar could well be his repast for the entire 24 hours while the P1 million taken from a wealthy man could merely be what the wealthy man loses in the stock market in one day and recoups with a profit in the next trading day. No Atenean could have gone through the Jesuit school without learning that lesson at heart.

Yet how does one reconcile the phenomenon of the Blue Vultures and their feeding frenzy on the nation’s most impoverished citizens?

Jueteng is an evil that preys on the poor by creating an illusion of sudden money. Little bets here and there will buy the poor a few hours of hope and a possible modest win, if one is lucky. But the little bets here and there are sure money, in fact million and millions of pesos for the treasure kitty of the jueteng lords and their protectors. Being powerful, their winnings are guaranteed while the poor are made to delight in staking their chances on the crumbs.

Fifty-three percent of Filipinos rate themselves poor. Yet major road projects are overpriced running by the hundreds of millions of pesos. How many infants had died, how many children had been deprived of education and nutrition, and how many of our poor countrymen had become sacrificial lambs on the altars of greed and corruption. Indeed, Judas had patriotism and conscience, these people do not.

Isn’t stealing elections the equivalent of the massive theft of a nation’s dreams and aspirations for a better life? Isn’t misappropriating government funds in order to win an election the same as robbing the people of money intended to uplift their lives? How about causing a fiscal crisis and then forcing people to reduce even more their miserable household budgets so that they can pay up the 12% EVAT?

In truth, we should rejoice if only our sinful politicians can emulate Judas Iscariot, if they can be patriotic and have a conscience.

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