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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Messy


A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star)

PNoy’s government is really making a big mess out of its handling of the plunder cases involving the pork barrel funds more specifically the PDAF and the DAP. More and more people are now convinced that all the decisions and actions undertaken by his administration in pursuing those cases, supposedly for the purpose of convicting the implicated officials, are just for show and actually for purposes of muddling the issues. This is the emerging and growing public perception because most of the officials in his administration, both elected and appointed, are also involved and may be liable.

The fight against graft and corruption especially in the use of the PDAF and the DAP is thus slowly becoming a fight between the citizens of this country against this government itself especially those in the Executive and Legislative Branches. It is no longer PNoy’s fight against the grafters. Indeed moves are now in the offing to hold big rallies and noise barrages against this administration obviously to revive and continue the million people march at the Luneta when the pork barrel scam was first exposed.

The messy handling of these cases is best shown by this administration’s treatment of the alleged list given by Janet Lim Napoles to PNoy’s Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima. As previously pointed out, De Lima’s role here, as DOJ Secretary, is just to gather evidence through its investigative agency, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The task of evaluating, or of “vetting” said list as evidence (to use De Lima’s term) belongs to the Ombudsman who will conduct the preliminary investigation to determine whether there is probable cause to file the corresponding charge against those mentioned in it before the Sandiganbayan. This is according to the Constitution itself (Article XI Sections 12 and 13).

So after De Lima had taken down the sworn statement of Napoles at the Ospital ng Makati in a five hour long interrogation that lasted up to early morning, she should have immediately turned over said sworn statement and the list to the Office of the Ombudsman. Instead however, she immediately went to the Press and announced the existence of said document but did not reveal its contents particularly the names of those included in the list. She said she was still verifying them, thus even arrogating unto herself the functions of the Ombudsman.

De Lima’s legally unfounded and unauthorized moves in this connection thus triggered the proliferation of other lists supposedly given to Lacson (“Pinklist) and Sandra Cam (Camlist) and from the files of whistle blower, Ben Hur Luy (“Luylist”). Confusion ensued because these other lists differ from each other especially in the names and number of the Senators and Congressmen included therein. To further confound the public, Malacanang spokesman Lacierda even announced right before De Lima released the Napolist that only three Senators (Enrile, Revilla and Estrada) are in said list when in fact there are eleven Senators listed therein.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

More outrageous in this whole affair is that this administration seems to be relying and giving too much credence to Napoles and her story. It is in effect telling the people that the cases against the public officials involved in the pork barrel scam will rise and fall based on the Napolist contained in her duly signed and notarized affidavit. In effect this administration has placed in the hands of the suspected mastermind of the scam the say so on who may be held liable for plunder under said scam. Napoles must really be laughing right now because the legislators’ honor and reputation appear to be dependent on whether they are included in her list or not.

This is really quite exasperating especially because, the truth of her affidavit has not yet been submitted to court and the averments therein subjected to rigid cross examination for purposes of determining their truth. Besides, there is something terribly wrong for this government to completely rely on this person who has refused to name and has not implicated any Senator or Congressman in her initial testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Her coming out with a list now is clearly inconsistent with her previous stand.

Indeed, foremost in the public mind as they closely follow the unfolding developments of these “battle of lists” is one distinct possibility that was previously overlooked. And this refers to those who are not included in the list. People are now really having second thought that the Napolist contains the names of legislators who are the real enemies of Napoles and have antagonized her before. Including them in the list and immediately creating in the public mind, doubts about their honesty and integrity is one way of getting back at them. Thus many people are now concluding that those not included in the list are the officials really involved in the scam and Napoles did not include them in the list in order to protect them.

The on-going spectacle about the pork barrel scam that clearly muddles the issue somehow reinforces the belief that many officials under the present administration are recipients or have availed of their pork barrel at one time or another. In fact in his column last Friday, my esteemed colleague in this newspaper, Jarius Bondoc, wrote that Noynoy and Abad are also in the list of recipients of the P728 fertilizer scam in 2004 when they were Congressmen of Tarlac and Batanes respectively.

So let us really fight for the abolition of this pork barrel. It is good that the Supreme Court (SC) has already declared the PDAF as unconstitutional. But what about the DAP? This case against the DAP was due for resolution last April, 2014 yet. Let us hope that the SC will not succumb to pressure again on this one.

E-mail: attyjosesison@gmail.com

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