I know I'm not the only one bothered by the level of corruption that Major General Garcia and his family has committed.

Imagine as a comptroller for the AFPSLAI (Armed Forces & Police Savings and Loans Association, Inc) his annual basic salary for 2001 and 2002 was less than P200,000. He also declared under his Statement of Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) that in 2003, he was only worth around P1.25M. And yet his and his family's assets would rival any of the residents of Ayala Alabang. Consider these and these are just some of their "assets" (I got this from Inquirer):

1. He owns a P42.8-million Trump Park condominium in New York
2. Has a another house in Ohio
3. The General's son Ian Carl has "at least" 3 vehicles under his name
4. The General and his wife has at least 5 cars to their name
5. He and his wife and his kids have 40 bank accounts in different local banks. they also have accounts in the US (the wife, Clarita and their 3 sons are all US citizens)
6. They were caught smuggling in $100,000 to the US (they were stashed in envelopes hidden in various nooks and crannies of one son's body) and apparently this is not the first time they did this.

Good God.

On the other side of the fence, the World bank's Millenium report noted that as of 1997, poverty incidence in the Philippines remained at 40%. Imagine that. That's at least 33,200,000 men, women and children living below subsistence level. The Philippines ranks among the highest in the Southeast Asian region. It's enough reason to tear at your hair and curse to high heavens. The Inquirer editorial of 16 October put it well:

TO GET a vivid picture of life in these parts, imagine the multimillion-peso cash deposits in the names of Major General Carlos Garcia, his wife and their three sons, their fleet of vehicles, as well as property in the United States, including a condominium unit in New York and a house in Ohio. Then imagine a couple straining to maneuver a pushcart through the traffic, their bodies gaunt, their clothing tattered, the pushcart, actually their home, loaded with a passel of grimy children and what amount to their worldly goods. Think of the shopping expeditions of Garcia's wife (apparently a regular, many-splendored exercise, else what are the five drivers for?), then consider the painstakingly methodical sweep that scavengers perform on the daily haul of garbage to be able to eat.

The act of imagining is supremely easy to do, the ways of the new rich being on tawdry display through their many mansions, and the ways of the impoverished being a sad, sullen part of the daily panorama.The polarity is nothing new, in fact ever present, a veritable part of the warp and woof of the Philippine social fabric -- but now much sharper, more cutting.

Is there no end to our sorrows as a Filipino people?


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