As I write this, I am boiling in anger, pity, and sympathy.
Anger, because Koko Pimentel, a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, recklessly endangered medical frontliners, patients, newborns and more when he decided to breach quarantine protocols at Makati Medical Center (MMC).
Pity, because the country’s already-strained medical sector, which has constantly pleaded for help since the beginning, has been dealt another blow. All because a supposed well-informed man: a bar top notcher, a pvblic official well-versed on guidelines, failed to do his part.
Sympathy, for the Filipino pvblic, because despite his egregious offense, Pimentel will likely face consequences no greater than a viral tweet. Think about it: A former Senate President facing charges? A known ally of the Duterte administration receiving justice? Hahahaha.
Wait, I think I still have some laugh in me. Hahaha…
Even now, The Department of Justice (DOJ) outright refuses to launch an investigation into Pimentel’s violation, pleading instead for ‘compassion’. The DOJ claims that a warrantless arrest isn’t valid either, as there is no ‘probable cause’. This, despite MMC pvblicly denouncing Pimentel, while the senator himself admitted the blunder and apologized.
I’ve seen people – and Pimentel – use the excuse that he’s an expectant father. But he’s not the only one inconvenienced by this crisis. What about the family members of those who died from COVID-19, who never got to say goodbye because of quarantine policies? The daily wage earners who have to stay home and risk losing income due to the lockdown?
As harsh as it sounds, personal struggles are not free passes to act irrationally in times like these, because EVERYONE is affected. Not just Pimentel and his wife. Not just me. Everyone.
But as angry as the pvblic is now, the furor over Pimentel’s debacle will soon die down and be forgotten by Filipinos who have the memory of a goldfish.
If a family responsible for two decades of corruption and abuse can be re-elected into power, then Pimentel’s misstep is nothing but a blip. Also, didn’t politicians already flex their ‘VIP’ privilege when it came to COVID-19 testing kits? Apart from essays and social media outrage, did anything of consequence come out of that?
Expecting the government – at least the current one – to keep Pimentel accountable is a pipe dream. The thought alone deserves a spot in John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.
Even this article will soon be buried under Tiktok videos and ‘KokoTe’ memes. But for the few who will read this, I urge you, as always, to BE the consequence.
As the COVID-19 crisis reveals the true colors of our leaders, take note of those who floundered the most. In the upcoming elections, ditch those who did, vote for those who didn’t. BE the consequence, because the people in charge most certainly won’t bother to be.
Banner art: Marx Fidel