The Inquirer headline for today reads “Antipoverty Post for Erap ?”. It seems the Arroyo administration is dangling the possibility of a government appointment for the just-pardoned former President, a convicted plunderer.
“Why not?”, Serge Remonde, chief of the Presidential Management Staff asks. Why not, indeed ? After being convicted of enriching himself himself in office ,why not give him another chance to do more of the same ? Once again, OIP.
Arroyo believes in the old adage that a person in her position must keep one’s friends close, but one’s enemies closer.
Although much diminished in stature, Erap’s political clout cannot be underestimated. Proof of this is that he managed to have his wife and son elected to the Senate while behind bars. His buddy, the late FPJ, would have been President if only the 2004 elections were honest. Erap retains his mass appeal and has shown himself to be a fearsome adversary. Perhaps by himself, he can’t topple Gloria. But in alliance with a united opposition, he can still spell trouble for Arroyo. While professing gratitude for his release, he can still work behind the scenes. So getting him on board makes sense. But will he bite ?
The Inquirer editorial also points out that both Erap and President Arroyo have remained true to their essential nature- both are cold-blooded opportunists who will always look after themselves first. But in doing so, they sow the seeds of their own destruction. Thus, the oft-told tale of the scorpion and the frog, which goes like this:
“The scorpion begged for a ride across a river on the frog’s back; and against its better judgment, the frog decided to give the scorpion a lift. Only for the scorpion to end up stinging the frog. As they both sank to their death, the scorpion philosophically explained why he bit the frog: “It’s in my nature.”
But what if both are scorpions ?
Which brings to mind another Zen story, which may say something about our essential nature as a people.
“Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him,
“Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know it’s nature is to sting?”
“Because,” the monk replied, “to save it is my nature.”