Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Foxhole(PJI editorial 13 April 2005)

CROUCHING dog-like in a foxhole to shun enemy fire, what would the lowest form of animal—an Army draftee who earns a paltry P800 a month (based on 1970 prices) – cough out on learning that two sons of a major-general were caught spiriting out of the country some $100,000 in cash?

It would be beyond that dog of a soldier’s ken that Garcia comes from a medieval word-- it means “fox-like.” Sa Tagalog, ang katuturan niyon ay “magulang, tuso, gahaman.”

Nomen est omen. Talaga yatang may taglay na palatandaan ang pangalan.

That dog of a soldier once wrapped in smelly fatigues, worn-out boots and grime may be led to believe that some people are cursed by their names, probably by fate—even what passes off in these parts as faith.

Even so, the trenchant faith system hereabouts proffers this counsel: “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?”

As a lousy twist of fate would have it, Major General Carlos Flores Garcia is accused of amassing unexplained wealth, monies way far beyond his earnings from the Army in 1993-2003.

He and his family hold titles to extensive tracts of farmlands and residential lots in various provinces and cities in the Philippines. The Garcias also own a clutch of peso and dollar bank deposits, including multimillion peso investments in military officers’ cooperatives.

That march-worn dog soldier fielded to terrorize terrorists down South may also die in envy: the Garcias—husband, wife, and three sons-- own more than two cars each.

Heinous it is.

The Garcias face plunder charges. No bail for those charged with such a heinous felony. Plunder is meted the death penalty. If proved, not only the major-general will be dealt capital punishment.

The general is already detained at Camp Aguinaldo. He is facing court martial for conduct unbecoming of an officer and acts inimical to the State. His wife and sons are all green card holders—citizens of the U.S. of A.

But they could also be thrown in jail. After all, U.S. agents helped in gathering evidence against the Garcias, particularly on trips to the U.S. to salt away hundreds of thousands of greenbacks.

Fate and faith must have conspired: “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world…?”

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