In a country like the Philippines where millions live under the poverty line, I am dismayed by the fact that for the past weeks we have been pounded by revelations after revelations of grave corruption. This comes after the PNoy government brazenly stood by the platform “tuwid na daan” and as we have seen in the past…took steps to show their strong adherence to this platform by filing cases against a former president, the monumental ousting of a Chief Justice, and the dismissal of government officials who get entangled with corruption. And yet the climax of the drama is yet to unfold.
We have read on the news the tactical procedures on how Napoles and her cohorts were able to use the PDAF, or better known as the pork barrel, of high government officials to consolidate, distribute, and liquidate these public funds to their advantage. We were surprised as to how extensive the network was in terms of financial gain to those who were involved. We were even more surprised as to how Napoles ended up surrendering in Malacanang after weeks of hiding and after weeks that PNoy have been awfully hushed about the grave issue. Then comes the dramatic filing of the cases that involved three senators – Enrile, Revilla, and Estrada. But then again, we still have to see the real drama.
Accusations have been hurled and words have been lashed around. Bong Revilla started to question the authenticity of his signature that he confirmed beforehand. Jinggoy Estrada started to clear his name by stating that he has nothing to do with the cases filed against him. Enrile kept his mouth shut and just decided to spend time in the hospital that spurred the wheelchair jokes. And then Gigi Reyes, a former aide of Senator Enrile, spoke about her feelings of betrayal from the camp of Enrile after lawyers of the senator claimed that Enrile did not give any authority on the release of his PDAF. She even claimed that the senator assured her that he will stand by the authority that he gave her and that they will go through this together to prove their innocence. Why would she feel “betrayed” then? Is there a backstory that the public needs to know?
To add more to the drama, as expected one of the three senators mentioned in the controversy took the stand yesterday to give an hour long speech. A speech that the people expected to be full of “I am not involved and I am innocent” statements. This is part of the government’s expense – we fund these hour long speeches to defend themselves. These senators should fund these speeches themselves to save the people’s money for something with more substance.
But Senator Jinggoy, in a sudden turn of events, did not deny his involvement. He went on to drop a “bomb” as what he claimed earlier. He accused the COA report of impartiality by picking on the opposition in this controversy, instigating that the attack on them was due to political affiliations. He then questions why were they singled out and how come some government officials were excluded when they were also mentioned in the COA report. Uhmm…the mere fact that other names were included in the report means that the COA was not impartial, dear Senator. He then goes through a list of government officials and even giving Jollibee free advertising during the speech. Hmm…I am starting to smell an endorsement deal here for Estrada. I could see Jollibee dancing around while Senator Jinggoy Estrada blurts the tagline “Langhap na langhap ang sarap”.
Furthermore, he reveals that Senators who voted guilty during the impeachment case of former Chief Justice Corona was given an additional of 50 million in PDAF, inciting a question as to where these funds came from and inciting how the executive branch yields its power to the release of PDAF. He then clarifies that his decision was not influenced by the incentive. Nice way to maneuver youself out, dear senator! But the real question, did you avail of the 50 million incentive after you made the vote? If I will look at your statement, you are confirming that there was an incentive given to those who voted for a guilty verdict and you voted guilty so it is safe to presume that you got 50 million?
The speech of Senator Estrada did not clarify the depth of his involvement in the PDAF scam. It just made me think that he is involved and that he is just questioning why ONLY him, Enrile, and Revilla. His comment “huwag naman kayong masyadong ipokrito” can be perceived as admiting that it is happening and that he is inciting that the other senators who are condemning them are practicing the same.
In my perception, the speech, did not only confirm that there is a huge chance that he is involved, but it also raised a lot of question on the integrity of the institution. His revelation on the “Corona incentive” can be perceived as a tarnish on the integrity in the decision that their court made at the conclusion of the trial as some of these senators may have decided, blinded by the incentive. Furthermore, that revelation can also open discussions on what really happened to their PDAF allotment. At the end of the day, I can only raise one question…how extensive is his involvement in the scam and how much did he get?
The speech in effect is just the fall of the fallen. He did not deny but he just made more bricks fall. In tagalog, “laglagan na lang ito” or it is a case of if i fall, i will pull you down with me. That is how I see it.
Interestingly, I wonder what Revilla has to say about this.
Rave: I like the fact that a lot of Filipinos are becoming more vigilant in the search for the truth on the Pork Barrel scam. It is this kind of vigilance that we need to get to the truth. It is good that despite of the problems and issues that the country is facing, we continue to keep our vigilance. Let us remain steadfast in the search for the truth and let us keep on fighting for what is right.
Rant: Just saw another twitter post that a weather disturbance might bring rains to Manila again. Now that would be another headache for most of us. A little fall of rain in Manila paralyzes the whole metropolis. It snarls traffic really bad. I still do not get the fact that the MMDA and its corresponding LGUs have failed in finding a concrete solution to this problem.
Rave: I just caught a trailer of another film that will be going on a commercial run this month that participated in the recent Cinemalaya Festival. It is nice to see that this festival has given birth to a new set of films that is of quality and of substance. I hope that Filipinos can support these kind of movies so we can uplift Philippine cinema.
Rant: I am dismayed by the act of plagiarism committed by a UP graduate student in a photography contest sponsored by the Chilean Embassy. Mark Joseph Solis has been severely criticized for his action by netizens despite his apology to the photo owner and the contest organizers. He reasoned out that having a difficult life was the reason why he committed that act. I do not think that poverty should be enough reason for one individual to cheat just so they can have a better life. I am dismayed by the fact that he never learned the value of integrity in UP.