Clearing Napoles is vesting sainthood on Marcos and Suharto


Marlen V. Ronquillo

MR. Duterte won the presidency on the basis of his reputation for toughness. Tough against crime, unforgiving on the corrupt, ruthless against those who violate the law.

He could not let, he said during the campaign, obedience to the law be “optional,” and many found that the best line of his campaign and the best argument for his election to the presidency.

Yes, obedience to the law can’t be an optional thing. Leaders rise and fall on their fidelity, or non-compliance–with both the enacted laws and the Constitution.

The efforts of the state lawyers to free Napoles is a total rejection and a mockery of that pledge. No contemporary figure in our scandal-prone country can topple the large and looming figure of Janet Lim-Napoles from her ghastly perch–as the public face of a corrupted political system.

Free Napoles? From what dark and sinister labyrinth of legal rubbish did they draw the basis to free Janet Napoles? The usual verbal scam of technicality?

Where did you think the younger Napoles got those Ritz-Carlton apartments, Porsches and Hublots? And those gilded bathtubs she filled with infinitesimal amounts of cash? Or, where did the family get the money to buy the Anaheim hotel, the prime properties in CA and elsewhere? We have combed all the records and we found no gold and copper mines under the name of Janet Napoles. Was there a treasure trove from Basilan that she managed well and turned into multi-billion-peso enterprises? Did she invent an apps that funded a gilded life? None whatsoever.

In fact, except for the phony NGOs Napoles used in her P10 billion SARO-for-Cash scam, there was never any legitimate enterprise founded or operated by Napoles. They were fake farm and rural cooperatives, for God’s sake, operating from Napoles’s plush suites, and everything, from the stationery to the registration filings were phony. And we, the real farmers, were her first victims as Mr. Aquino cut off all aid to the peasantry after the peasantry was used as a front by the Napoles syndicate in the scam.

She got her start selling fake helmets to the Marines. She grew bolder in her scams, until the point she found the sophistication and the accomplices to carry out the most daring heist of congressional money in the history of this sad republic. Did the state lawyers forget that the P10 billion pork scam has no precedent in the history of a tainted Congress? Nothing of that scale of corruption, mind-boggling and incomprehensible, had been tried before. After she left the misery of Basilan, Napoles never set foot on muddy fields again.

Before Napoles raised the ante on corruption, lawmakers were content with pitsi pitsi tongpats of 10 percent for every SARO/NCA that was released under their names. Ten percent was the SOP to make sure that the projects funded were not impaired. Commissions were made, yes, but projects were done. There was corruption, yes, but in a context where lawmakers have to dole out real cash for kasal, lamay, fiesta at basketball, the 10 percent tongpats seemed benign.

It was Napoles who devised the outright 60-40 SARO-for-Cash exchange, purely paper transactions that funneled huge amounts of cash into her accounts and her lawmaker-accomplices. She incorporated all those phony NGOs, faked the names of the supposed farmer-beneficiaries, faked the names of the supposed LGU beneficiaries and recruited the executive branch officials and lawmakers into her grand, multi-billion-peso scams.

In fact, Napoles lured the chiefs of staff of senators and congressmen via fancy lunches and other offerings so the staffers would convince their principals to gamely participate in her grand scam. She and the minor scammers employed beautiful and young women to “date” members of the House of Representatives. Take note that some of those tagged in the pork barrel scam were young congressmen who signed on after the “dates.” Not really for the money but for the grand time they had with their “dates.” Remember the rich, young congressmen who parted away with P1 million or so to the scam – no thanks to the pretty young things who arranged a night out with them.

And now, she is innocent? Wow. If she were cleared, let Indonesia vest Suharto with sainthood and our little sad country should do the same with Marcos.

Then, we should ask for a global rewrite of the historical records to vest knighthood on Pol Pot and Idi Amin. Or claim that the Kristallnacht was a Jewish fabrication.

Poor Ben Hur Luy.

Ben Hur was, of course, an accidental hero. Tempted by the Napoles riches, he probably set out to get out of the Napoles scam to set up a similar operation for himself. But that was not to happen. He became a whistle-blower with a prodigious memory and a knack for keeping records. Unflappable and calm, he impressed many with his composure and vivid memory on the modus operandi of the Napoles Group and its transactions with the key players, particularly the three senators—Johnny, Bong and Jinggoy—who allegedly traded their SARO for cash.

Now, state lawyers want to reverse the story. The one who felt Napoles’s wrath as her scam unraveled is now the culprit and the “Pork Queen” a victim of Ben Hur’s fairytales.

Will the judicial system allow such kind of whitewashing to take place? I am not so confident on Ben Hur’s fate. And where we are now does not give me that confidence.

What is “trending” now, I will use a techie term, is an urge to whitewash history. Crackpots are declared “heroes” and there is disdain for the truth.

The conspiracy to free Janet Lim-Napoles is taking place under such perverse obliviousness to facts.


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  1. Our gov’t in connivance with criminals, what else is new? Napoles is just the tip of the iceberg.

    You want to trace gov’t pork barrel scams one by one. The surest signs are multi-millions to billions in gov’t project funds spent not by the implementing agency but through proxies, as their name imply NGOs (Non-Gov’t Orgs.) so that means public spending diverted to private entities.

    Media is still unaware of another variation of the pork barrel scam formulated under xPNoy, this is when huge budget allocations are channeled to a created gov’t project entity instead of the proper or principal gov’t mandated agency that has capacity to oversee the project. In essence these are Non Implementing Gov’t Orgs. (NIGOs). So it is still the same game as spending by proxy, and should really be considered technical malversation or juggling of funds. That is, if COA were not turning a blind eye to such irregularities.

    Implementing gov’t agencies have organizational structures for some measure of accountability at least. The accounting, managerial and budgetary IRR’s (implementing rules and regulations) plus the resident COA. Whereas the proxy NGO’s and NIGOs operate in a climate without such checks and balances and that is why their scam was so successful.

  2. This writer should widen his perspective towards the Pork Barrel! Who started and allowed it in the first place? It is not Marcos but his beloved Cory! And who abused it to the fullest! The beloved Son of Cory! Stop vilifying Marcos. Yes! He was not a Saint! Niether any of the AQUINOS!

  3. for long i thought ph media men are well verse about ph day to day tsismis and non-tsismis. napoles was not in jail for plunder. she is for illegal detention of luy, which became a “consuelo de bobo” for those asking for her blood. pinoys hunger for her blood, at least, settle down for a while, but the whole truth about her loots still out there together with her mentors, trainees and associates in crimes. i’m one of those who looks forward to hearing her singing the whole song. if one does want to get rid of very serious corruptions before and now, ma’am janet must fine tune her song to begin with….

  4. Oh, please….Marcos pale in comparison to Hitler and Suharto. If only many acknowledge that those who died during martial law were mostly communist rebels and sympathizers, then Marcos would not be so vilified. Now, Filipinos prefer to portray communists as heroes just because of martial law. I used to be a leftist and anti-Marcos until the truth about Plaza Miranda was revealed. How come the reds and yellows never shout to the world that they were the ones who kept accusing Marcos of bombing Plaza Miranda when in fact it was the reds who did it and Ninoy was not around when it happened. Stop using hyperbole to vilify Marcos. This has gone on too long. Marcos was not a saint but then Cory and Ninoy were not a saint and hero respectively.

  5. I think she is not the only player in the pork barrel “game”.
    How about her husband , Marine Officer Jimmy Napoles and her kids ?

    The couple who run PHILREM of the Bangladesh-AMLA-RCBC fame are also the WERFAST principals and partners in crime of Gen. Purisima, etal.

    How about the rest, I remember at least two more were named in the past.

    If she can tell all regarding the other players, might be interesting and enlightening for all.

  6. Are we t the verge of going to the dogs? The Old Man, Martial Law architect, Enrile is free “for humanitatian reasons,” while the Pogi and Jing-boy languish ala vacationers at a military prisons turne “suite room.” Any push from Malacanang could open the gates for them. And M’am Janet? It’ll be just a matter of time, as by then, a good number of justices of SC would have been Du30’s appointees. God have mercy on this country!

  7. Marlen, the solgen was referring to Napoles’ innocence only as far as the Ben Hur kdnapping is concerned, not the pork barrel scam itself. The way I see it, and I hope Im right, Duterte wants to set Ma’m Janet free so that she can testify against the yellow politicians who are out to get him, and that would be sweet, divine justice, don’t you think?