As the Aquino administration winds up the “last two minutes” of its term, the President himself should realize that he still can cement his legacy as one of the country’s leaders who truly fought corruption and advocated good governance.
The past few weeks have seen new twists in the shocking pork barrel scam, with primary suspect and alleged mastermind Janet Napoles saying that more than 100 were involved in the scam from both chambers of Congress.
Napoles named last week more than 100 lawmakers allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam, while whistleblowers led by Benhur Luy pinpoint only three: Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada, who are not allies of the Aquino administration.
What may be a high probability is the 100 lawmakers also include allies of the Aquino administration. If the administration chooses to prosecute all of the lawmakers and even Cabinet members said to be involved in the pork barrel scam, support of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s and his Liberal Party-led coalition’s political base will surely be eroded. The President’s and his allies plans to win the presidency and the majority of Congress seats in the 2016 elections will become more difficult to accomplish.
In exchange, however, what President Aquino will again is a secure place in history as truly the “Matuwid na Daan” (Righteous Path) president and not the hypocrite and conman that more and more people are beginning to think he is. This is because corruption and criminal negligence and criminal incompetence have characterized many of the doings under his administration of, so far, three and almost one-half year.
For many years, the issue of corruption has dogged the Executive branch of government, but it is only during this administration that the Senate and the House of Representatives have been embroiled in corruption of such a scale that serious and thinking Filipinos, not just the usual flippant commentators, are thinking of abolishing Congress.
And the Palace itself is under grave and just suspicion. The President himself enjoys a huge pork barrel fund. And the Secretary of Budget and Management himself and key aides okayed the release of PDAF (pork barrel) funds to non-existent groups of supposed-to-be indigent Filipinos. In fact, the Supreme Court has declared the DBM secretary’s invention unconstitutional.
For decades, Congress has been suspected to be a hotbed of corruption, because it enjoys pork barrel privileges, and there is this general public perception the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is not properly utilized. The fact that Napoles is suspected of pocketing billions in PDAF funds – sharing the loot with congressmen and senators whose own PDAF allocations are the source of the abused funds—show there is corruption indeed.
Only an ignoramus will refuse to believe that the scam has been on for years.
However, how Napoles has been treated so far shows that the Aquino administration has lacked the will to prosecute those who are suspected to have pocketed billions in government funds. Up to last week when she made her revelations, she only remains detained with no formal charges filed against her in the courts.
But this is because all she is held for is for illegally detaining her former assistant, the chief whistleblower of the PDAF scam.
She is not being charged because of this amazingly corrupt reason.
The DOJ secretary and the Palace know that she is not the real mastermind, for the superbrain of the scam is in the Palace and the other culprits are allies of the President. Originally, they just wanted the Napoles scam to blow up to compromise the opposition.
But now they realize the scam is also in fact ruining the Aquino administration and the Liberal Party. (For more elucidation, read today’s headline.)