The news that files have been deleted from the external hard drive of pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy that was given to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee shows, once again, what is very wrong with our poor country. That every thing is dysfunctional. Only in the Philippines does it happen that evidence submitted to authorities can be tampered with—and allegedly or presumably to suit the requirements of the powers—that—be.
This is, one again, very sad—and lamentable. The pork barrel scam case may be the only chance in this century to clean up a major branch of government that is the legislature, or at least to force the coming new generation of lawmakers to be not like their predecessors who are, as seen in this scam, venal and corrupt.
The files deleted from Luy’s external hard drive are said to be evidence that can pin down more lawmakers and government officials, both from the present and past administrations, for having been involved in the pork barrel scam. Just so we don’t forget the gravity of the crime in this scam, here’s a summary: Janet Lim Napoles and her employees—many of which are the whistleblowers—with the participation of corrupt and greedy lawmakers, with the approval of the President’s Department of Budget and Management (DBM), collected up to P10 billion released by DBM purportedly for projects for the poor and needy. The funds, allotted to the PDAF or pork barrel of the senators and congressmen, were released but the poor and needy who were supposed to be cared for by non-government organizations or cooperatives did not exist and neither did the NGOs. These were inventions. The money was then split between Napoles’ various corporations and the legislators.
These files of Ben Hur Luy, from which there have been deletions, contain voluminous records of the transactions.
All told, more than 50 files that were deleted have been recovered, according to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. The committee also said the deleted and recovered files include project proposals, endorsement letters and disbursement records.
Some have praised the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the NBI for the recovery of the deleted files.
But we urge the committee rigorously work to find out who deleted the files, which were supposed to be part of official evidence submitted to that Senate body. Obviously, the deletion of the files was also meant to hoodwink the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which is looking into the pork barrel scam.
And we urge the public to maintain a certain skepticism about the integrity of these files.
The intention of those who deleted the files was obviously spare some politicos and government officials from being charged over the pork barrel scam. And it may also have been an attempt to weaken the evidence against those already tagged as allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam, like senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.
Now that the deleted files have been recovered, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should have more resolve to proceed and conclude its investigation into the pork barrel scam. And it should not spare those who deleted the files from Luy’s external hard drive.
But how sure are we that the recovery of the files is complete or that the files are now in order and not sanitized or misleading ones?
The fact that funny things, like files being deleted and recovered, like Mrs. Napoles writing and rewriting her affidavits and like the Justice Secretary’s being involved in Mrs. Napoles’ writing of her affidavit, can be used as an excuse by prosecutors (who wish to absolve the Aquino administration’s allies) to derail the case against the President’s friends and Liberal Party allies.
Even judges who wish to accommodate President Aquino—and Secretary Florencio Abad of DBM (who himself should be suspected), Senate President Franklin Drilon and these men’s allies in the Liberal Party—can use the strange history and mishaps that have befallen the files to say that all these only-in-the-Philippines events make it impossible for them to arrive at an impartial verdict of guilty against some of the accused.
So in the end only persons like Enrile, Estrada and Revilla will find themselves being zealously accused and found guilty. For they belong to the opposition party.