By Raïssa Robles
In his political commentary-novel “Blighted”, lawyer Frank Chavez describes a very interesting character whom I suspect was based on a real personality.
Chavez calls this character ‘Jabba the Hut’ – a frequent party guest in wealthy businessmen’s mansions like that of one of the main characters, the road contractor Johnny Garcia. Here’s Chavez’ description of Jabba, the only guest that the likes of Johnny fawn over:
This guest stood about five feet, seven inches tall, was mild-mannered, on the fat side now and with a shrill, almost womanish voice. In whispers, people called him Jabba, most probably in reference to Jabba the Hut of “Star Wars” fame.
Jabba, fawned over by ass lickers, but abhorred by most, had developed a reputation as a shadowy, avaricious, ruthless operator, fixer and “commissioner” in big business transactions, both in government and in the private sector. He was not a government official but maintained intimate relations with those in power. Since he was not holding a public office, he considered himself beyond public accountability. But he made things happen; public officials moved and acted the way he willed it. His wishes were their command, as they could neither refuse nor contradict him. Those who did found themselves out of office in two weeks, a month at the latest.”
Jabba had become notorious due to public perception based on verifiable information that he was the one who pushed for the anomalous IMPSA deal, brokered two multi million dollar deals with construction firms of two countries, devised the fertilizer fund scam at the Department of Agriculture, sponsored big-time smuggling at the ports of entry, influenced rigged biddings for construction projects, siphoned off dollars to Hong Kong, Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands, maintained a fictitious local bank account, sold high-powered weapons to terrorists in Mindanao, dealt in counterfeit US dollars in Australia and New Zealand, and brokered the entries of big corporations into the business of power/energy generation, conversion and transmission, not to mention the acquisition of control over blue chips corporations using corporate dummies.
The greed was just horribly insatiable. The litany secret and anomalous deals was endless. Where big money was involved in public or private transactions, Jabba always figured in them. And when interviewed by media, Jabba would always retort with signature arrogance:”That’s not true. But if you have the evidence, go ahead and sue me.”
Frank Chavez went on to narrate the following in his book which he published in 2009:
In one particular party, Jabba selected two senators, one congressman, the Speaker of the House, the PNP Chief, the Commander of the marines, the Secretary of the Department of Justice, and the National Bureau of Investigation director to join him at his table.
And then Jabba proceeded to give them their orders.
Chavez later called his character Johnny “remorseful” for doing Jabba’s bidding, but said Johnny was hit with the realization that “this way of life for him had become irreversible.”
Now, let me play the English teacher here and give you a short quiz:
1. Who is Jabba the Hut?
2. Is this way of life for the Johnny Garcias of the Philippines irreversible?
3. What can you do as a plain citizen to reverse that?
I’d love to know.