Gucci Gang Mar 23, 2008 17:59:20 GMT 8
Post by marcs on Mar 23, 2008 17:59:20 GMT 8
Interesting view on the Gucci Gang controversy . . .
quoted from www.iloiloviews.com/the-gucci-gang.html
The Gucci Gang
IF IT WERE NOT for Celine Lopez, daughter of couple Albertito and Emily, there would be less interest on the so-called Gucci Gang controversy among the Ilonggos. The combined news elements of proximity and prominence made Iloilo Internet users googling minute by minute to get the latest info about that familiar name and why she was dragged into this high-society spectacle.
To those offline, this controversy started when Australian landscape designer Brian Gorrell accused his ex-lover, Filipino lifestyle columnist DJ Montano, of swindling him out of US$70,000 that he had lent him, purportedly for the purpose of putting up a restaurant. He also accused Montano’s well-to-do friends – the Gucci Gang members, Celine one of them — of covering up the deed. Brian had since opened a blog for the purpose of collecting his money back.
Details and other sidelights of this controversy are all over the Internet, and there is no need to glorify it further. Besides, all that Brian wants is that his money be returned, and he will forget everything. And he seems firm on that. If he gets paid, he may just abandon his rebellion against the Gucci Gang, who in turn may now sleep well.
But whether this hullabaloo takes a halt after Brian is eventually paid, preempting more juicy revelations, or continues until he shall have told everything with convincing consistency, the Gucci Gang will surely become a disgraced icon of opulence, making more evident the great divide between the rich and the poor in the Philippines.
Brian’s blog reveal how extravagant and lavish the lifestyle of the Filipino rich, basking on the temporal pleasure that cocaine, liquor and sex bring to them, while those in the very wide base (and it’s getting wider) of the social triangle had to shed not just sweat and tears but blood as well to put food on their table. The amount of money they spend every day on sin is more than enough to feed the poor in Sinikway, Lapuz here in Iloilo City for a week or two. It’s scandalous and obscene, especially in the Philippines where one of every three Filipinos lives in abject poverty.
Government statistics reveal that 32 percent of the people in 2006 – the year when the latest poverty figures were taken – were below the poverty line. Given the total population of 84 million Filipinos that year, 27 million were poor. Using the 2006 census data, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) says that a family of five living outside of Metro Manila needs P4,177 a month to survive on food alone. To be able to provide for both food and nonfood basic requirements, a family of five needs P 6,274 a month. In Metro Manila, a family with five members needs to earn at least P8,569 monthly in order not to be classified as poor.
What most Filipino families need to survive in a month is just about a gram of cocaine as per Manila street value. Reports have it that cocaine costs about P5,000 to P6,000 per gram in the capital. We can now imagine how much rich kids would squander every time they feast on cocaine. Summing that up in a year, we can be pretty sure that the figure is enough to feed the thousands of empty stomachs in Somalia in one quarter. But that’s just for drugs alone. How about their spending on liquor and on hookers, and their hotel bills, during sex orgies?
Our legal system calls this thoughtless extravagance, or the ostentatious display of wealth – an act made illegal under Article 25 of Republic Act 386, otherwise known as the Civil Code of the Philippines. This law prohibits “thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display during a period of acute public want.” President Elpidio Quirino lost his re-election bid in 1953 after he was accused of thoughtless extravagance – that he was using a golden arinola (chamber pot) in Malacañang.
Except for that provision in the Civil Code, there is however no other sumptuary law in the Philippines. In ancient Rome, there was a law that prevents “inordinate expense in banquets and dress.” They even have a “hall of shame” where they list the names of everyone found guilty of a luxurious mode of living. A sumptuary law is defined as that which was made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, and furniture, among others. Sadly, only the Civil Code speaks of thoughtless extravagance in our country. And its downside: there is a need for someone to petition the court to stop an individual or a group, say the Gucci Gang, from lavishly displaying wealth, with the petitioner shouldering the filing fee and all other expenses from his or her own pocket. Who will do that? Any volunteer?
Aside from the great economic divide that has come more evident with the eruption of the Gucci Gang controversy, there are other great divides.
The next is the law enforcement divide. As claimed by Brian, these rich kids do drugs in hotels with the drug dealers delivering cocaine right at their doors. Often it is asked: Why are our laws lenient on the rich yet harsh on the poor? “Those who have less in life should have more in law,” said the late President Ramon Magsaysay, who must be turning in his grave right now knowing that the lespu had chose to ignore the felony of the rich but always notices the misdeeds of the poor. A quick scan of past news reports reveal no story about a bunch of rich kids arrested while in a cocaine party. But there are a lot about poor street children sniffing rugby to suppress their hunger and loneliness.
And if there is a great divide in law enforcement, expect the same in the administration of justice. Lady Justice may be blind but she can surely sense the smell of money. Isn’t it that blind people have a keener sense of smell? And it is precisely this keen sense of smell for money of those who are supposed to blindly enforce the law and blindly administer justice that makes people lose hope in our criminal-justice system.
All these bring to mind Plato, who said: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”