Cynicism, suspicion over Napoles surrender

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“Janet surrenders to P-Noy” was the banner headline yesterday, referring to the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam. “Wow, such a respected, trusted President that the high-profile fugitive surrendered only to him, and to no one else,” one’s first reaction to the headline probably was.

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Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda in fact had to do some research to point out in a press conference that it is not unprecedented. A Robin Hood-like bandit (known as Asedillo), he said, surrendered to President Quezon before the war and that Huk Supremo and Socialist Party leader Luis Taruc surrendered to President Magsaysay.

In a photo released by Malacañang on Thursday, Janet Napoles (center) sits in a sofa while her lawyer Lorna Kapunan (right) talks to Cabinet officials Edwin Lacierda (left) and Jose Almendras (second, left). Malacañang

In a photo released by Malacañang on Thursday, Janet Napoles (center) sits in a sofa while her lawyer Lorna Kapunan (right) talks to Cabinet officials Edwin Lacierda (left) and Jose Almendras (second, left). Malacañang

But Janet Lim-Napoles, accused in April by her former staff Benhur Luy of illegal detention, hardly seemed to be in the league of a romanticized bandit or of the head of a socialist insurgency.

As the day wore on though, netizens and radio-TV commentators were instead asking the question: “Was it all a script, to try to salvage an initial script that terribly went wrong and backfired?”

Consider the sequence of events. The Philippine Daily Inquirer ran daily for more than a week its expose of the huge scam that siphoned off pork barrel funds of lawmakers, on the basis of claims of Napoles’ staff, mainly Luy.

What raised eyebrows at that time however was the alleged whistle-blowers’ allegation that the senators who profited from the scam were those who could be candidates for the presidency in 2016 (like Bong Revilla and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.) and those (Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada) who seemed to be on a collision course with Aquino and his factotums in the Senate.

The expose though was electrified by the Commission on Audit’s report based on voluminous data done for two years that the siphoning of pork barrel funds had been on a mammoth scale and involved even legislators identified with Aquino’s camp.

However, what probably stunned Aquino and his camp was that even if the COA report—suspiciously—covering only the years 2007 to 2009—or during President Arroyo’s term, people’s outrage against the scam turned towards this President.

This was obvious in social media comments, in the placards during the Million People March depicting Aquino as pork barrel king, and even, very significantly, in the avalanche of negative comments on the online sites commemorating the deaths of Cory (June 30) and Ninoy Aquino (August 21).

The COA report was even viewed as part of an Aquino plot, since his budget department refused—as the agency itself admitted—to turn over documents covering more than half of the total pork barrel disbursements. This could have involved the use of pork barrel funds by Aquino’s allies.

Furthermore, Aquino’s declaration that he won’t abolish pork barrel funds but merely put “tighter controls” on its use, the barrage of claims that he had actually discretionary funds bigger than pork barrel funds, and the COA reports’ glaring omission in its report on how Aquino, Drilon, and his other allies used their pork barrel funds created a groundswell of criticism and even disgust against this administration, never before seen in its past three years.

Worse, an apolitical celebrity, Lolit Solis, whose business is to manage actors and actresses, claimed that Napoles knew on first-name basis Aquino’s Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, and that she had financially contributed to Aquino’s campaign kitty in 2012. Even Napoles in her earlier interviews with a newspaper showed that he personally knew Ochoa. It was also the Executive Secretary’s former law firm, which had been the first counsel Napoles contracted to deal with the allegations against her when these broke out.

The events leading to Napoles’ surrender have intensified suspicions over Aquino’s motives and involvement in the entire controversy:

• Justice Secretary Leila de Lima last week reversed her department’s decision made in June, which dismissed in April the illegal detention charges brought against Napoles by her staff Luy. It suddenly found “probable cause” after media had demonized Napoles. Manila Times sources in the courts alleged that they were arm-twisted into issuing a warrant of arrest against Napoles. De Lima obviously looked for some case by which to arrest Napoles – and bring her within the government’s wing.

• Napoles however seemed to have been warned of the arrest order and eluded authorities. Newspaper articles quoting anonymous sources report that Napoles’ life may be in danger, as those involved in the scam would want her silenced. “Dead men tell no tales, “ Lacierda in a press conference said.

• A few days later, Aquino offered a P10 million reward for information leading to Napoles’ arrest, which became newspaper headlines that had the impact of portraying him as determined to get to the bottom of the pork-barrel issue.

• And then the other day, Malacanan announced that Napoles met with spokesperson Lacierda in a cemetery (Heritage Park), who then brought her to Aquino in the Presidential Palace itself. Media had been barred from covering the event and from interviewing Napoles. Aquino has so far not bared what has transpired in his meeting with Napoles.

This sequence of events just after news of Napoles’ surrender to Aquino broke out, led commentators to ask serious, rational questions:

Why would the President of the Republic receive Napoles, charged with illegal detention, a case in which she can be bailed out of for P20,000 to P100,000?

She could have surrendered—as our institutions indeed call for—to the Secretary of Justice who asked for her arrest, to the Court which issued her arrest warrant, to the head of the Philippine National Police that was hunting her, and even to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who commanded the PNP and who after all has been one of the President’s trusted men.

Did Aquino strike a deal with Napoles, that she will be safe and even taken care of, as long as she implicates lawmakers who are not within the President’s camp? This certainly is a deal only the President, and the President alone, can offer, and only in person and not through an intermediary.

Or worse, did Napoles give Aquino some “black book” listing whom among the legislators she dealt with in the pork-barrel scam? Would that black book be something Aquino could threaten unfriendly senators and congressmen with for the rest of his term?

tiglao.manilatimes.net
www.rigobertotiglao@gmail.com and www.trigger.ph

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28 Comments

  1. Hell, no we have not forgotten The BALLSY EXTORTION of INekon…

    But first, naloko na namn tayo ni Pnoy…..hawak na pala nila si Napoles, one day before the reward announcement pa…she was being detained somewhere north about 200 km from Manila (baka sa Tarlac)…

    Kaya totoo pala, scripted lang ito lahat…

    Kasi isang reporter ng Rado Mindanao Network, based in New Jersey, USA ang nagpost in his FB account, 24 HOURS BEFORE it happened, that Napoles would
    “surrender” to Pnoy and would be made a state witness daw…? Look it up..The reporter is LINO CELLE.

    Then why all the drama? Ano na namang kalokohan ni Pnoy ito…?

    People, ninanakawan na tayo, niloloko pa tayo….

    Sobrang eskandaloso na ang pamahalaang ito…

  2. I didn’t see anything wrong with how Janet-Lim Napoles’s surrendered to the president nor with Mr. Lacierda acting as facilitator. People are always quick to criticize without looking deeper into the issue that Napoles is a ‘big fish’ but there may be bigger than her. Napoles is no ordinary person wanted by law but virtually by the entire country who stole unimaginable amount of money which could have benefitted many of our kababayan. With that huge amount stolen, it was said that the Philippines could have purchased enough warships to defend our territory against Chinese’ bullying. Ang pag-iisip natin ay hindi pa rin nagbabago – minsan sala sa lamig at minsan naman ay sala sa init. As the president of our Republic, I put complete trust in the sincerity and judgement of Mr. Aquino. If he decided to personally see thru the security of Napoles, that is because he knew that the extent of the knowledge of Napoles could shed light to a much bigger ‘catch’. This is unprecedented in the history of our country to expose a bigger than life anomaly involving unprecedented amount of people’s money enough to pay off our national debt.(RA)

  3. Dapat ke Napoles,itali doon sa bahay ng mga langgam.Isama buo pamilya at mga kapatid.Isama rin sila si Enrile,Jinggoy,Revilla,Pitsay,Arroyo at lahat ng mga senatongs at tongressmen.Ipakagat ng langgam hanggang mamatay…

  4. Too much reading between the lines. The bottom line is Napoles is in custody and you need to provide her with a can opener and watch those worms (senatongs and tonggressmen will just come out from it. Thank God they did not have the opportunity to kill her. That is the big picture, folks. Time to take a break from this analysis paralysis.

  5. The Napoles scam came out simultaneously with the Ballsy Aquino alleged $30,000,000 extortion attempt with the Czech company, Inekon. As expected, the president’s sister and brother-in law, Eldon Cruz have been cleared while the assistant secretaries, namely: Vitancol, Lotilla, Gonzalez have been made scapegoats!!!

  6. Saturnino R. Mendinueto, Jr. on

    WHAT IS THE COMMON THE DENOMERATOR OF ALL STATE WITNESSES? THEY ARE EITHER THE BRAIN OF SCAMS OR PARTICIAPATED IN THE SCAMS AND ARE FREE FROM WHATEVER SUITS THAT WILL COME OUT FROM THEIR SCAMS.
    WHEN I HEARD OVER TV 5 THAT THE DOJ WAS STUDYING TO MAKE JANET NAPOLES A STATE WITNESS, I TOLD MY FREIND THAT WOW DOJ WAS PRACTIALLY OFFERING JANET HER FREEDOM FROM ANY SUIT AND SHE SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.
    THE NESXT DAY PNOY OFFERED AP10M REWARD FOR NAPOLES AND P5M FOR HER BROTHER RENALDO AND IN LESS THAN 12 HOURS, JANET NAPOLES SURRENDERED NO LESS THAN TO OUR PRESIDENT. I TOLD MY WIFE, SCRIPTED OR NOT, IT IS BETTER FOR NAPOLCE TO SURRENDER AS FOR SURE THOSE POLITICIANS OR THEIR FRIENDS WILL SURELY WANT HER SILENCED.
    WHAT I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WAS WHY AS PER TV REPORTS;
    1) WHY DID SEC. LACIERDA SAID THATHE AND ATTY LORNA. KAPUNAN ( HIS FIRST BOSS AFTER BECOMING A LAWYER ) WAITED FOR ONE HOUR AT A CERTAIN DESIGNATED PLACE FOR NAPOLES TO SURRENDER.
    2) AS PER TV REPORTS, RECORDS FROM THE SECURITY OF HERRITAGE PARKS INDICATE THAT NAPOLES ARRIVED THERE IN HER SUV 8:30 PM AND AFTER AN HOUR THE CONVOY OF SEC. LACIERDA ARRIVED AT THE HERRITAGE TOGETHER WITH ATTY. LORNA KAPUNAN.
    3) IN LESS THAN 10 MINUTES, JANET NAPOLES CAME OUT OF HER MOTHER’S MOSOLEUM.
    WHICH IS WHICH, DID SEC.LACIERDA WAITED FOR AN HOUR AT HERRITAGE PARK, THE DESIGNATED PLACE OF SURRENDER OR FOR ONLY 7 MINUTES???

  7. This is “daang matuwid”. Noy2 unquenchable thirst of going after GMA, not contented until she is buried, his undying loyalty and defense, and the penchant to overlook at the sins of his erring friends, lead me to believe that he is using Napoles to accomplish all these goals. I agree on the diversion attention on his sister, and the obvious one-sided and limited but carefully selected/orchestrated (Tan-Abad) COA report, which if I may add, are full of inaccuracies unbefitting to be called an audit report. Tan should resign. She is a disgrace to the accounting /auditing profession.

  8. This is a very disappointing and pathetic article from Mr. Tiglao.

    Another mindless hatchet job on President Aquino.

    Instead of focusing on the main issue, which is the systematic looting of the Philippine treasury by government officials from the highest echelons, Mr. Tiglao launched a rabid and extreme attack on the President.

    I expect better from Mr. Tiglao.

  9. Nestor Trinidad on

    Oh what a tangled web we weave…. this case has taken a life of its own and no one, not even Aquino’s spinmasters, can predict how this will all turn out now…

  10. What can I say? Is this another conspiracy theory. You really cannot win. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t.

  11. The alleged “facilitation fee attempt” involving PNoy’s sister has been buried by the avalanche of news stories generated by the “surrender” of Napoles.

  12. Well you make the point, But since Napoles know all of them she knew if she surrender to one of this high ranking official who is the compadre of this senator, congressman,or governor she will be dead, So the only option is the president with the a good deal. I was surprise that she was still alive, this high ranking official want her blood, to them she is very dangerous . If i were Aquino i will send all his trusted men and all his arsenal to guard Napoles, If Aquino make a single slight mistake the people in the philippines will not ever find the truth and Napoles will not see the Daylight. This high ranking official that was involve in this scam if you put their power together, Aquino are in deep shit. Just think about that this people has been in power since the Spanish time and now its their great, great grandchildren. In other world pilipino people are slave since spanish time up to present time and they dont know it yet, what a poor ignorant people.

  13. How the “surrender” started: Soon after the President announced a 10M reward for the apprehension of Napoles, Atty Lacierda, by his admission during his August 29 Press Briefing, INITIATED a call to Atty Lorna Kapunan asking if Napoles wanted to surrender. After a discussion and agreement on how to effect it, the surrender was was done before the president. Question; Shouldn’t Atty. Lacierda be given the 10M reward? Is Lacierda not guilty of taking undue advantage of inside information to accomplish his feat, considering that he has preempted those who might have a better need for that 10M?

  14. This Napoles scandal is so like any telenovela ABS-CBN is pretty good at. It will not be a surprise to everyone that the citizens are subjected to Moro-moro’s produced by BS Aquino and co-directed by Ricky Carandang and Manuela Quezon III who, are, if one may recall, were both connected with the yellow network, ABS-CBN.

  15. Bert O. Romero on

    The access enjoyed by JLNapoles directly to the president culminating to her surrender to him speaks volumes. And the willingness by the president to accommodate her surrender to him puts into question the wisdom and the sense of propriety not only of the “advisers” – Secretaries Roxas, Lacierda, Carandang, and Almendras- but of the president himself . A president escorting to camp Crame a wanted fugitive – with a bounty over her head offered by the president himself- was unprecedented and condemnable. A president who by all accounts is personally incorruptible and in fact was voted to the presidency because of his purported moral ascendancy, inherited or misplaced, is either stupid or overly protective of people involved in the scam.

  16. Lacierda’s first job out of law school was with the law firm of Kapunan and Ass. Who’s the lawyer of Napoles now? Atty Lorna Kapunan. Do we still still wonder where that unprecented attention and personal accomodation this president bestowed on Napoles, come from?

  17. Wow! This is a very serious assumptions. The author is so determined in profiling the sequence of events as if he is looking at a crystal ball. Can media be held responsible for voicing comments that could hurt the outcome of this probe? Why not media just tell news to the people and avoid making their own interpretations or comments. Is the writer on the other hand is also trying to protect those senators named in these plunder case? Thats my P10 billion pesos question…..There are no formal investigation yet nor any court hearing and yet, the guilty ones are now started barking like a crazy dog. Lets wait and gather all the facts then shoot your gun at the right time. Making assumptions while the issue is still immature will not lead to a positive outcome.

  18. Samuel Santos on

    The alleged “bribery attempt” involving PNoy’s sister has been buried by the avalanche of news stories generated by the “surrender” of Napoles.

    • Bert de Guzman on

      Please note Mr. Tiglao that Aug. 1 is Cory’s date of death, not June 30 as you mentioned.
      Thanks and regards,
      Bert

    • add to that is the smuggling report that increases tenfold under the tuwid na daan. add hunger and unemployment, diplomatic blunders, etc…in the past i never heard of a leader of state announcing loud to the public that he will be attending a state affair in another land only to be told not to come by the host country because his presence is not welcome. thanks to napoles saga, these things can be swept under the rags…

  19. I do believe that the President and Napoles strikes a deal to implicate only the opposition Senators and Congressmen and release only the “Pork barrel COA reports” on these people. Why single out only former President Arroyo. Why not include Presidents Ramos, Estrada and even Cory Aquino to be fair. To avoid impeachment and tune down the anger of the people? This scenario will backfire and a Third “EDSA” is in the making. Enough is enough – “Kung walang Corrupt walang Mahirap and Tuwid na Daan”.