Caught In The Act


If it goes viral, no doubt a picture is worth more than a thousand words. 


Image from the Filipino's Patriotism Facebook page.

It could even cost one’s job, as in the recent case of two airport staff caught on camera playing video games apparently while on duty at the Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“The employees were photographed in their workstations while a long line of people were seen nearby. The photo has gone viral and earned criticisms.” (ABS-CBN News
They may give the excuse that they were on coffee break. But they actually played games using computers—along with the Internet and the electricity—paid with the sweat-blood-and-tears money collected from the overseas Filipino workers at the airport. 

Taking responsibility for what happened, Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said that he already started disciplinary procedures. 


Image source: Rappler

Though he refused to name them, “Cacdac said one of the workers is a contractual employee and may be fired while the second employee could face sanctions ranging from a simple reprimand to suspension.” (Ibid) He already transferred them to Terminal 1 and gave them 3 days to explain before the investigation begins.  

Surely, they should be punished for playing at work. 

Yet, without giving those Candy Crush players an excuse, how come nobody took responsibility for and nobody got disciplined when Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was caught playing Bejeweled during a Senate hearing?
Enrile, the Senate President in the 15th Congress and now the minority leader, was caught… on camera swiping his tablet while waiting for his turn to question resource persons at a Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry. … Enrile was on Level 237 while playing the game, which requires a player to match at least three gems of the same color either vertically or horizontally. After checking his iPad mini, his score stood at 7,426,250 points. (Inquirer)
Image source: Inquirer

Granted, it’s his iPad (assuming it was not a government-issued tablet). He could afford to buy a lot of it, anyway. Possibly, he charged its battery at his office there. Yet, that’s debatable.

But the point is that he was playing during a Senate hearing. Like a taxi meter, we are paying for him to be there but not to play while there. Our taxes are paying for his salary (including his staff’s) and his PDAF a.k.a. pork barrel along with other perks of his office plus the expenses during the hearing such as the mirienda or snacks.

But, Enrile excused his Bejeweled play. “I’ve been doing this for quite some time to exercise my diminishing intellectual capacity.” (Ibid) And he got away with that alibi.

One wonders why those airport employees did not immediately give the same excuse. It worked for Enrile. Why won’t it work for them? 

Oh, yes, they were not on equal footing with him. They are mere employees. 

He is, after all, an honorable lawmaker.

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