Prints and Traces

Who can be honest?  Rather, who need to be honest and be featured in the news?  It’s the poor!  Never the wealthy and powerful!  They have no need of the glory of publicity or a reward for honesty.  Their position in society is more than rewarding enough!

By DON J. PAGUSARA
Davao Today

I overheard this conversation among trisikad drivers in their terminal in one of the city’s villages:

“Bay, nakabati ka sa gi-news ganihang buntag sa TV?”
“Asa ba adto?”
“Kadto gong kutsero sa kalesa didto sa Manila nga nakakitag pitakang naay sulod nga Euro dollars daw?”
“Ngano man diay?”
“Dako kaayo tog kantidad ba!  Dos sientos mil pesos!  Mas dako mag bili nang Euro kaysa sa US dollar!  Kun ikaw pa kaha tong nakakita, iuli kaha nimo?”
“Og ikaw kaha?  Iuli nimo?”
“Ambot lang kaha. . .depende. . .”
“Ingon ana, Bay, gaba ray ato kun dili nato iuli!  Wa nay komo sa magtinarong.”
“Palakpakan. . .!”

Translation:

“Brod, have you heard that TV newscast this morning?”
“What about?”
“That coachman of a calesa in Manila who found a wallet which contained some Euro dollars?”
“And so, what about it?”
“It was a very big amount!  200 thousand pesos!  Euro dollar is higher in value than US dollar, you know!  If you were the finder, would you return it?”
“Why ask me?  If it was you, would you?”
“I don’t know. . .it depends. . .”
“In cases like that, my friend, we’d only get karma, if we don’t return it!  There’s no substitute for an honest conduct.”
“Applause. . .!”

Well, it’s another commendable act by a lowly coachman who certainly is not blest with a comfortable life in this economically beleaguered society.

Maybe, shining moments like this are not a frequent event.  But it happens.  It happens in the conduct of people who, we know, are enduring some kind of less-than-comfortable condition of life — a condition that is perhaps below the poverty line.

Then we shift our attention to the class of people at the upper strata of society.  They who enjoy all the comforts and luxuries of life.  They who hold high positions in government.  They who readily make world tours and other jet-set sorties.  The rich and the super-rich!

Aren’t they also the managers of our dear country?

They are there in the Halls of Congress, in the Cabinet posts of government.  And, yes, in the awesome chambers of the Supreme Hall of Justice!  But they are there also in the forbidding rooms of the military Generals.

They are the formulators of the laws of the land, the dispensers of justice, the enforcers of the laws.  Just like the Divine Voice at Mt. Sinai, they determine who can be held liable as trespassers of the State’s commandments.  And they decide who should be penalized as offenders and who should be thrown into jail as criminals.

In their hands lie the fates of the lesser mortals in society.  They command the life and death of everyone but themselves.  They are the masters of our fates, the captains of our souls.

Have we heard of anyone from this privileged class returning the people’s money that he/she happened to have found in the drawers and vaults of his/her office?

NO!  Because unlike the poor who are afraid of karma or God’s ire, they are the dispensers of karma.  What is karma to them?  It is the penalty of the laws that they make!

They who ordered the installation of CCTVs in offices everywhere, have they been caught dipping their hands in the National Treasury or in the sacred money of the people?

NO!  Because the money they steal from the public funds deliberately fly or flow into their accounts in other countries!

Who can be honest?  Rather, who need to be honest and be featured in the news?  It’s the poor!  Never the wealthy and powerful!  They have no need of the glory of publicity or a reward for honesty.  Their position in society is more than rewarding enough!

And why should someone with all the riches under the sky return a wallet containing some hundred thousand pesos?  He will never be suspected of having pocketed such amount?  As far as a millionaire is concerned that will not be detected at all as an increment to the millions in his vault.

NO!  The wealthy and the powerful do not need to be honest.  It’s only the poor or the dregs of society who need to be honest.  Otherwise, they will fall into the “honest hands” of the law.

Don J. Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

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  • Joe Smith

    @ Don : you have never heard of the “haves ” and the “have nots” ? Are you angry and jealous because you are not a “have” ? Where is the law that says the haves have to give money to the have nots ? Of course it would be nice if they did but nothing in this life is free. The sooner you realize that then the sooner you can let go of your bitterness that comes across in your writing style.

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