One of my favorite Aesop’s fables growing up was the anecdote of the dog in the manger. It was not only the curious caricature on the cover page that made it memorable for me, but the underlying moral lesson of the story in general.
Imagine a mongrel enclosed in a holding pen, unable to roam around the area and all he could do is bark haplessly at subjects that take his attention. Then imagine that he fancied a piece of meat in the middle of the barn, he scratches and pushes the gate of his cell but to no ado. Then he sees the horse approach the piece of steak and is about to devour it. The dog makes a hopeless, desperate protest by barking loudly, furious for the horse for taking what it perceived, “its’ meat”.
The dog could not have enjoyed the steak himself due to its’ circumstance, yet he wants to begrudge the horse of taking the privilege simply because of envy and ego.
This is exactly how Senator Jinggoy Estrada looked like during his privilege speech last week before the House of the Senate. Enraged by what he perceived as ‘bullying’ by the media regarding his involvement in the pork barrel scam, Estrada began to divulge high-profile anomalies in the government perpetrated by the rival party. In a speech that lasted almost an hour and a half, Jinggoy never spoke a single line that came to his defense against the pork barrel accusations.
Attempting to prove that transferring public funds to suspicious non-government organizations was not that big of a deal, NGOs which he willingly admitted to not knowing their legitimacy, Estrada began a filibuster that pinpointed other misuses of the pork barrel masterminded by the administration of President Aquino.
Senator Estrada accused the government of offering an additional Php50M in priority development assistance funds (PDAF) to anyone who would vote in favor of impeaching then Chief Justice Reynato Corona, a critic of Aquino’s. He might have attempted to earn the image of a hero whistleblower in front of the nation during that moment, but there’s a saying that goes: ‘he who throws dirt, loses ground’. In layman terms, there are times when one attempts to discredit another individual’s reputation only to lose face himself due to the public’s negative perception. That summed up Jinggoy’s folly perfectly.
How pathetic was it for him to point his finger while four other are pointing back at him? He did the Ombudsman a favor by uncovering another anomaly within the ranks of the already discredited politicians, yet he did nothing to answer the accusations against him. What did he have to say about the transactions with Janet Napoles? He came up short on this.
The most ironic fact about it is that he, himself received a Php50M incentive from President Aquino himself as he was one of those who voted to remove Corona from power in 2011. Didn’t that implicate him as well in another anomaly, thereby disadvantaging himself? Therefore, the analogy of throwing dirt and losing ground came true.
This failed attempt might have been a last-ditch effort by Estrada to defend himself and his family name. He and his father, Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, have already been both imprisoned for misuse of public funds during the latter’s term as president. Maybe Jinggoy saw the reality that the task of trying to prove his innocence to the public is an uphill one and made him resort to such dastardly tactics.
If that were true, he needs to invest (perhaps not from the PDAF) on a PR team that would at least repair some damage to his name. The worst thing Senator Estrada can think now is that he might have vindicated or rescued himself from the mess known as the PDAF scam because that is the polar opposite of what he had just done.
Just a few days after the revelation of Jinggoy Estrada, investigative journalists have uncovered information that he owns a whooping Php120M mansion being built in an upper-class residential area in the metropolis. Now, there is nothing illegal about a public official owning lavish properties; there is a huge injustice however if these properties were not declared in their Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). If Estrada remembers correctly, this was the same violation that led to the impeachment of Reynato Corona; the exact trial he boasted about in his speech. Talk about poetic justice.
With him already having to deal with the pork barrel scam allegations and still reeling from a self-inflicted punch to the face with his demagogic privilege speech, now the once convicted son of another convict has this latest exposition to deal with. It’s hard not to be excited about his next antics, let’s hope it’s worthy of the airtime given to him.