I can’t help but chuckle at this ABS-CBN News report which notes that intelligence officials within the administration of President Benigno Aquino III are looking at the possibility that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo might be involved in a destabilization plot against the present government, using the pork barrel fund scam as their main cause célèbre.
Arroyo is currently detained in the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where I visited her last May. She can’t even get out of the country to seek medical treatment, and yet she’s being maligned again with this? Only stupid people will buy this piece of bull. As I see it, this pronouncement is nothing but a diversionary tactic from Aquino’s minions.
First, the circumstances behind the supposed surrender of Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of this P10 billion scam, last Wednesday night is highly suspicious. Upon listening to Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s version of the story, I posted this via Facebook:
“Wait a minute, Mr. Edwin Lacierda. Sa tanang buhay ko, ngayon lang yata ako nakakita ng kriminal na sinundo sa sementeryo (alinsunod sa hiling nya) at inihatid pa sa Malacanang para sumuko. Tapos, pumunta pa mismo si Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) sa Camp Crame to check on her detention suite.
Obviously, there’s nothing spontaneous about Ms Janet Napoles’ surrender last night. It seems to me that everything was well planned. Sabi ni Mar Roxas, wala daw na binibgay na special treatment para kay Napoles. E anong tawag sa nangyari kagabi?”
I guess it pays well to have a lawyer (Lorna Kapunan) who was once the boss of the president’s spokesperson. It’s not everyday that someone accused of committing a heinous crime can request to surrender to the country’s most powerful man since he’s the only one she trusts, not police officials. In fact, Napoles was given a decent welcome at the palace. She even shook Aquino’s hand!
And as if that’s not enough, Aquino and his interior secretary Mar Roxas went out of their way to personally inspect the detention facilities where Napoles will likely stay. What message is this administration sending to Filipino taxpayers like me who are right now feeling robbed? Maybe we can extrapolate on some revelations that appeared recently.
There’s no doubt that some parties would want to see Napoles eliminated. Common sense tells us that this woman could not have maintained such an intricate web of corruption on her own. In other words, instead of being seen as a mastermind, Napoles might just be an enabler used by corrupt politicians as a means to siphon government money. Though the spotlight now is focused solely on Napoles, her ties to politicians must also be strictly scrutinized. In that sense, Kapunan is right.
Entertainment writer Lolit Solis, who apparently has ties with Napoles, recently declared that she once heard her friend taking a call from now Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa asking for campaign contributions for Aquino’s 2010 presidential bid. An aide to Ochoa swiftly denied the accusation, and the Commission on Elections eventually issued a statement saying that Napoles is not listed among Aquino’s contributors.
A high ranking COMELEC official once admitted to me that the poll body has very limited capability to verify the financial reports submitted by the candidates. Ask yourself this – what if Napoles did not want to disclose her identity? Solis may not be a paragon of virtue, but her statement must not be dismissed outright.
Corruption scandals are nothing new to the Philippine political scene. Big names had been dragged to such controversies over the years. So, what makes the latest scandal centring on business proprietor Janet Lim-Napoles so scandalous that made people literally get out of the streets?
First, the P10 billion price tag being bandied is just so staggering. Plus, Napoles’ daughter Jean shamelessly flaunted her opulent lifestyle through her social media accounts. Then, adding insult to injury is the fact that the entire scandal came to light during Aquino’s term, a man who ran on the platform of eliminating corruption.