Monday, January 19, 2009

Bitter Bribery

Bribing pisses me off especially if the bribe is so sensational that the matter turns into a state affair. Most of us have read and heard about the “Alabang Boys” and frankly I’m close to forming bile in the pit of my stomach. Apparently these alleged drug pushers and users that come from well-to-do and affluent families were caught red handed with supplies of different kinds of drugs. Witnesses have pointed their fingers at them that even their respective relatives do not deny. Naturally, to avoid further scandals and looming imprisonment, their camp resulted to the quickest and most effective way to “ask" officials for a “favor.” An illegal favor that is.

Bribe them with money, glittering sums of it, and there’s an expected immoral miracle waiting to happen. They’re lucky if the people they bribe would say yes and shut up forever. They wouldn't have cared less if they exhibited the weakness of human nature. Don't feel sorry for the bribers too. Forget about the financial damage, bribers will get to feel the solid power they possess. That in itself is priceless. But unlucky fools they will become if they happen to bribe people who simply refuse. It’s going to cause a low blow to their tainted egos, which makes them boil in their own tar pit of corruption. It’s also best if those they’ve bribed sing to the tune of revelation. Nothing beats the hatred song of denial and counter allegations. It’s the worst soap opera in the world. Corrupt individuals act out as educated and sophisticated adults who are not capable of bribing in their entire life. Sometimes it's so badly acted that it reeks.

There are hundreds of reasons to bribe. It could float in between desperation for survival or it could just be fulfilling one’s self interests. Bribe is a form of human corruption that seeks out ordinary favors and services in exchange for money, possession or something that the object of bribery can't say no to. Money seems to be the best choice for bribes although some people prefer other material things that tend to be cheaper or actual people that tend to be quite impossible to obtain.

Bribing I believe is developed in the early years. We just fail to notice we’re being ‘bribed’ or we’re actually bribing someone because it doesn’t ever feel scandalous. As kids our parents started bribe us to do things without exerting much effort. A candy here, a meal there, a toy here, a promise there. I believe most kids have experienced this one way or the other. But most of their bribes are for our own good. Going to the doctor, to the barber, shopping with them, getting good grades at school, staying at home and to the extent of showing them affection adults think they deserve. These minor things are overlooked as bribe, until we realize that we have elevated it in how we deal life as an adult.

As much as I hate and publicly disapprove of bribes, I admit I am guilty too. Simple things like making my dog do tricks that I want him to do by showing off rewards first is already a form of bribe. The fact that I sometimes get swayed by my powerful relatives and friends to just pay off the hawk-eyed traffic enforcer in exchange for not going through the hassles of retrieving my license is a classic bribe. I go through lengths of feeling guilty and not being too proud of myself.

Hating bribers is easy and expected. But we often forget that as long as weak souls, who are easily bribed, still walk in this earth, the cycle will never stop. If everyone just developed a higher sense of honor and everyone harbors enough courage to reveal the corrupt individuals, then I don’t think bribing could easily exist or thrive in a society. If all people are like Major F. Marcelino, I don’t think bribing would’ve made a great effect.

Bribery is always a question of what we value in this life. Money, no matter how ultimately important, is not the only thing that we value. Thinking about it, I could even be easily bribed by a deadly Banana Cream Pie. How cheap. But whatever the reason is, no matter how personal, nonsensical and absurd, all bribes fall under one cluster, for which I’m ashamed to admit is a constant struggle in everyone’s lives. I just hope I have all the strength in the world to refuse and give “the finger” to those who bribe so expertly until they end up in the spotlight. Serves them right. And to those who accepted different kinds of bribes, it made me realize how cheap their pride could be. I'm trying my hardest to avoid being one of them.

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