Former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes died this morning, February 8, following an attempt to commit suicide. We’ve seen the news, we’ve heard the story, and the details are clear. Save for one: Why? Was the guy really guilty of being corrupt?
A narrative on corruption made by Former UN Ambassador Harun ur Rashid couldn’t have labeled it any simpler: one’s starting point of being corrupt is largely determined by one’s social environment, opportunity, and temperament.
A clean conscience will always be subject to influence just as much as dirty scruples would. The ill-timed fate of the former Defense Secretary is just a case of a conscience being revisited. But the man’s just P40 million monthly pay and a P50 million send-off cash too late.
Still, corruption is never about the money. Fraudulence roots from the option of what you can do with it. Money is simply a means to achieve an end, but most in power might be bewildering the false assumption that money is the end itself. And this is where the notion of greed comes along.
Angelo Reyes is no different from a cab driver finding a thick wallet in the passenger seat or a money-spinning job offer from an illegal firm – he struggled with the possibilities good and bad, what his acquaintances and family would say, and the consequences it denotes.
Maybe it's because we live in a developing country. These are consequences also applicable upon going the Good Samaritan route. It’s like saying no to a showbiz offer, a winning lottery ticket, an opening to revolutionize your life for the better, no matter the method.
These are comforts exclusive only to you. Only one person can sit on this chair, and you’re feet are weary from standing all your life. These are the what-ifs, the why not, and the choices fellow corrupts seize from you.
So how do people become corrupt? No amount of conscience will stop you from considering. While it may seem natural and dare we say rational, truth of the matter is that it is not okay. Because simply put, it's wrong.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO
IMAGE FROM OCEAN'S THIRTEEN (2007)