The people are mad as hell, and they have a darn good reason. This government is run by thieves, or so they feel.
First there is this report of a Sandiganbayan justice partying with Janet Lim Napoles at the time when a case against her was being heard in his division. A picture of the honorable justice with her and a senator, who has since implicated in the pork barrel scam, is circulating in the social media.
Mrs. Napoles had been charged, along with her husband, retired Marine Col. Jaime Napoles, for graft and corruption in the supply of 500 Kevlar helmets for the Philippine Marines. There was no valid bidding, and the firms that supposedly participated in the process were fake or non-existent. She failed to deliver the helmets, although checks amounting to P3.9 million were made out in her name as payment. It was only after a year when she was able to produce the goods, and they were not the kind specified in the contract. They were Taiwanese rather than American made.
However, Mrs. Napoles and her husband, along with the other accused, were exonerated, and, wonder of wonders, an employee of the businesswoman’s was found guilty, but she drew only a suspended sentence for falsification of public documents.
There is also this Court of Appeals justice, who when he was still a congressman, signed over his pork barrel allocations to one of Mrs. Napoles’ NGOs. He has since claimed his signatures in the documents were forged. He has also announce he will inhibit himself if a case involving the businesswoman lands in his division.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is poised to file charges against Mrs. Napoles and her cohorts in Congress and the Executive Department in connection with the theft of P12 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel for short.
The CA justice was among one hundred congressmen or so and at least 12 senators implicated in the scam. His public pronouncements haven’t allayed fears that Mrs. Napoles would be able to extricate herself from the mess once again. For didn’t she say at one time that she controls the government? The government naturally includes the judiciary.
How many more justices out there who have received favors from Mrs. Napoles?
As if that was not bad enough, certain agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were now found to have told Mrs. Napoles of the arrest warrant issued against her. The fugitive has since been taken into custody, but if the revelation is true, and this came from President Aquino himself, then this much-ballyhooed search of the fugitive by the agency is a farce.
Heaven forbid that the Anti Money Laundering Council, tasked by the Court of Appeals to look into Mrs. Napoles’ bank accounts to find evidence of wrong doing, is also complicit to the crime.
The senators describe the release of the COA report as premature. They also harp on the legal precept that all accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
It is hypocritical of these legislators to lecture us on legal niceties. Of course, their lifestyle—living in mansions, moving around in flashy cars with a coterie of bodyguards in tow, and sending their children to exclusive schools here and abroad—is no proof of official corruption. However, when that life of luxury—which is something legislators in prosperous countries do not enjoy—is set against the testimonies of whistle blowers and the COA report, the people can be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that these legislators are stealing them blind.
Maybe the senators want COA to sit down with them first to sanitize the report. We all know that every time government officials confer among themselves the last thing in their minds are the interest of the people.
Hell may not be the place of eternal fire. That’s alright, as long as the legislators, when they die, will always hear hungry babies wailing into the night because they have stolen the food that rightfully belong to them. That is punishment enough.