Growing anger over PDAF scam could bring govt down

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Failure of the government to dampen the growing unrest over the P10-billion PDAF (or pork barrel) scam could bring the whole government down. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima was right when she said that baring the list to the public at this time would cause “havoc and confusion.”

Yet, keeping the people in the dark would increase the pressure on her to release the names. Her refusal to do so could unlock torrents of angry protests from a disgusted public, which would then engulf the Aquino administration.

I would have thought that President Benigno Aquino 3rd had learned his lessons from a series of crises he faced during his past three years in office. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. He loathes criticisms and brands his “critics” “destabilizers” or “enemies of his administration.” He categorizes the people into two groups: “Those who are for him” and “Those who are against him.” He has shunted his well-meaning sisters aside in favor of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, DBM Secretary Butch Abad and DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. He now considers these three, “family.” He has failed miserably to demonstrate that he is President of all Filipinos, friend or foe alike.

Take the case of the MRT3. Guilty parties hastily came up with a pre-emptive black propaganda blitz accusing presidential sister, Ballsy Cruz, of attempting to extort $30 million from Inekon, a Czech company bidding for the supply and maintenance of the MRT3. It was patently a ruse to divert public attention away from them, the real extortionists.


Cruz reportedly cried and complained to the President, according to a highly reliable source, and pointed to a group inside the DOTC responsible for the malicious story. The President summoned the DOTC official to the Palace and admonished him but refrained from suspending him for his role in the sordid affair, the source added.

Now to the Napoles affidavit.

First, what de Lima has in her possession is not the signed affidavit, a source close to Napoles told The Manila Times over the weekend. What she has are notes she took during her meeting with Napoles at the Ospital ng Makati from the night of Monday until 3 a.m. of Tuesday. The affidavit was already signed by Napoles when the DOJ chief came for a visit. She was not given a copy but was allowed to read it.

Former senator Panfilo Lacson, too, does not have the signed affidavit. What he has, according to the same Times source, is the first unsigned draft among several drafts of the affidavit. It had undergone quite a few changes, but only in form, not in substance. The lawyers had to change the verbiage or the language in some instances, but the names, events and dates were consistent, the source emphasized.

So that when de Lima hurriedly went to Malacañang on Tuesday morning to brief the President, she must have read from her notes. It is therefore useless for us to step up the pressure on her to release a legal instrument she does not have. What we can do is to ask her to make public her own notes.

Napoles, we are told, would be releasing her signed affidavit soon, the same source told The Manila Times. She is resigned to the distinct possibility that she will be incarcerated and any help from her “friends” in high places is wishful thinking, the source added.

President summons Secretary Alcala and Secretary Abad
Immediately following de Lima’s briefing, President Aquino summoned Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and DBM Secretary Florencio Abad separately to the Palace, a Palace source said in a phone call to The Manila Times.

He said, “Hindi naman tatanggalin sina Abad at Alcala. Concerned pa nga.” (Alcala and Abad won’t be fired. In fact the President is concerned about them.)

Instead of suspending or firing them, the President was even protective of them and warned them, said the source, “Mag-ingat kayo, lumabas na mga pangalan ninyo.”(Be careful, your names have already come out).

It is logical to assume that the flurry of statements from the Palace, the Lower House and the Senate are in response to the President’s instruction to counter the fallout from the Napoles affidavit. These stories border on the pathetic and ridiculous. Their lines are the same; their appeal to the public clearly choreographed.

Sen. Franklin Drilon went the media rounds the other day even before his name could be made public. The two-part Times article (April 21 and 22), “They were my mentors,” purposely withheld the names of Napoles’ “mentors.” Still, the Senate President went on radio and TV to deny that his name “was on the list” and say that “it will never be” because, as he put it, he has never used any NGO to channel his funds except thru the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

It would be prudent of the good senator to just wait for the release of the Napoles affidavit before he protests. We would want to unmask the names of Napoles’ “mentors” were it not for the request of the Times’ source to momentarily withhold the names from the public.

Drilon added that it is OK for his name to be included and released if Napoles has “evidentiary documents” to back up her claim. What? When he, along with the other senators, ruled to accept the list of former SC Chief Justice Corona’s bank accounts that came from a fictitious “small lady,” did he ask Congressman Umali to show evidentiary documents to authenticate the list and the amounts? Did he even consider whether due process was served? Did he take any steps to determine the existence and identity of the small lady?

Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo “small lady” Umali echoed the Drilon script. He warned the public to be wary of Napoles’ sworn statement, which he said without any corroborating proof “is useless.” One wonders why, without any corroborating evidence and without identifying the “small lady” who allegedly handed him the envelope containing the bank records of former SC Chief Justice Rene Corona, he still went ahead to present them as evidence at the impeachment trial. The senators accepted his “evidence” without regard to due process.

Drilon is now crying wolf. He is demanding that evidentiary documents be provided first before accepting the Napoles sworn statement. Karma?

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evaronde, for his part, defended Abad. He said that “reports claiming that the DBM chief was the main author of the irregularity are part of a grand design to confuse the public and divert the real issue from the perpetrators of the crime.”

“The public should be forewarned about these machinations. Those behind it will try every opportunity to bring the pork barrel anomaly issue to the doorsteps of Malacanang to deflect attention away from their principals,” (Phil. Star, Saturday, April 26, 2014) Evardone added. He accused the Public Relations handlers of the real scammers to have concocted the wild accusation against Abad. “Their strategy is to spread the mud and make everyone a suspect. I think the people will not fall for this tactic because they know better, and they now know who stole their money,” he emphasized.

We couldn’t agree more with that observation of Evardone. The people already know the identities of the thieves in Congress, in the Senate and in the Palace. Maybe the good congressman should just keep his mouth shut and concentrate instead on liquidating the millions and millions of government funds that went into his district during the incumbency of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and now President Aquino. As sure as the sun rises in the east, he will be made to account for the funds poured into his province. He should begin with the Typhoon Yolanda fund assistance that until now has not been properly liquidated.

DBM Secretary Butch Abad’s protestation of innocence is funny. He said “I’m no pork king” (Phil. Star, Saturday, April 26, 2014). He said, “These fresh allegations that I tutored Napoles in designing the PDAF scam are simply not true. I’ve been called several names since I began serving in this administration, but ‘pork king’ is certainly the most ridiculous. It would in fact be funny if it weren’t such a blatant lie.”

Maybe we should remind Abad that the Supreme Court has recently declared the PDAF unconstitutional. And he was right in the middle of it all. He was the principal architect of the illegal disbursements of the PDAF to the congressmen and senators that found their way to bogus NGOs. Pending still before the Supreme Court is the question of the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). He is also the chief architect of the DAP. Now the question: If Abad is not the “Pork King” who is? The President? Or are Abad and the President the two sides of the same liempo?

In the beginning, the Palace and its allies were in ecstasy. They thought that the P10-billion PDAF scam would be the opposition’s death knell. They thought that by singling out the three senators, they had the opposition by the balls. They thought making Napoles a state witness would cripple the opposition, and clear the road to the presidency in 2016 for their chosen one.

Wrong. Even the “best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men often go awry, an’ leave us nought but grief an’ pain” so wrote the poet Robert Burns in his poem “To a Mouse.” (Very apropos, isn’t it, since mice are related to rats.)

The Napoles caper has become a bane, an albatross around the administration’s neck. It has freed the worms that now threaten to inundate the Palace and its allies.

Sadly, President Aquino, the only one who can help bring justice to the Filipino people, is acting like a spoiled brat, protective of his playmates, bullying those who refuse to “play with him” and unmindful of the consequences to the people and country that he vowed to serve and protect.

Instead of firing those involved in the P10-billion PDAF scam, he has opted to embrace them, coddle them and reward them with their continued tenure in the government, allowing these crooks to amass ill-gotten wealth at the expense of the Filipino people.

Instead of acting like a statesman, President Aquino is behaving like a “conman.”

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19 Comments

  1. I think the senators, legislators and the cabinet members needs some serious spanking, not only are they not doing their job effectively, they are also involved in malversation of public funds.The Philippines it seems is governed by crooks, bribers, conspirators and criminals. Do you think these mess will ever be sorted? Do you think the Filipinos STILL trust the government? I don’t think so. Unless we see some heads rolling from the PDAF BIG TIME SCAM.

  2. May naniniwala pa ba sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas? 9 out of 10 yata ang patapon, ang kakapal ng mga mukha, may aasahan pa ba sa ating mga Pilipino? Ilan sa ating mga pilipino ang may pagmalasakit sa bayan, ang may pag papahalaga sa dangal, ang hindi magnanakaw at oportunista? Ang mga susunod na generasyon ng mga politiko ganyan din ang gagawin kasi yan na ang nakamulatan. Masyadong malambot ang puso ng pinoy sa mga magnanakaw kasi nakakarelate sila eh…kaya walang makukulong!! Kung meron man kunyari lang, hintay lang sunod na presidente ayos na!

  3. Ay naku mga anak itigil ang away. hindi natin malulutas iyan dahil matagal ng sakit ng gobyerno natin iyan pati na ang ibang bayan. Ang gulo ay di sinasagot ng gulo dahil ang mga taong mamayan ang nagdudusa. Sino ba sa inyo ang me kasagutan ng lahat nito eh lahat naman kayo eh me presyo or halaga sa buhay ninyo. Ni isa sa inyo eh hindi marunong pahirapan ang sarili sila pa kaya! Ang bilis ninyong husgahan silang lahat eh bakit kayo me nagawa ba kayo kabutihan para sa mamayan. Hindi lahat nakukuha sa init ng ulo sapagkat tao lang iyan at tao ang naglagay diyan. Madaling gumawa ng gulo pero ni isa sa inyo ay walang maibigay na kasagutan sa lahat ng ito. Ika nga it’s business lang iyan don’t take it personally. Kaya lahat sila eh me trabaho pa pero tayo eh nag-aantay ng tatrabahuhin. Kung meroon man sa inyo na nakakasiguro sa kasagutan ng problema natin eh simulan muna ang pagpapasyon mula Quiapo hanggan Malacanang. Eh wala sa inyo ang malinis ang budhi at maranggal na pagnanais para ating mamayan. Katatapos lang ng mahal na araw – lets pray and give hope a chance. For 300 yrs. tayo ay pinamahalaan ng mga praile sa Espana eh wala rin nagawa sa ating gobyerno. Ipagdarasal ko na lang kayo kundi kayo mag-hunos dili sa inyong ambisyon mang-gulo dahil kayo rin at mga kapatid natin ang maghihirap…Salamat sa komentaryo ni Brother Caluen and Brother Canastra.

  4. I think senator Santiago may be right, she smells psywar to muddle the whole P10 billion pesos PDAF SCAM. in order expose the President if he has protected sacred cow. I hope that the President will be more transparent and fair, that members of his party who may be involved in the lists, can’t seek protection from him, must go through the same process as others do, regardless of party affiliation. When this is done right, this could be the needed panacea to clean the government once and for all of these government plunderers, to show the public that nobody is above the law and face the consequences when convicted. Mr. President, be careful do not steep into the snare of these alleged thieves.

  5. Jessie Serrano on

    Lalong mababaon tayong mga pilipino sa kawalang pag asa pagpumalit si Binay sa 2016 as president. Ang uunahin nya lagdaan bagong batas ay NO TERM LIMIT FOR PRESIDENT. POLITICAL DYNASTIES from president to baranggay levels.

  6. jose hernani m. parco on

    the ‘list” is irrelevant! senate probe with the witnesses aka whistle blowers proves they are all thieves!

  7. I have no doubt on the reliability of your source Dr. Ang, more particularly the fact that Napoles had executed an affidavit containing the whole story of pork scams which she participated, complete with documentary evidence, audios, and videos to back it up, and that was before Napoles’ meeting with De Lima. Perforce, it’s an extremely condemnable act on the part of the DOJ Secretary to announce in public that Napoles executed an affidavit before her but she will not be pressured to show it. Why is De Lima and PNoy concocting lies to mislead the public? What for if the administration has no evil motive?

    Be that as it may, I just want to raise a point of clarification if you please?

    What exactly did you mean when you asserted that, “He has shunted his well-meaning sisters aside in favor of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, DBM Secretary Butch Abad and DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. He now considers these three, “family.” Can you cite a good example in your succeeding article? I have a gut feeling that Roxas, Abad, and Abaya are really the “unholy trinity” bringing havoc to our country like what Santiago said. Miriam miserably identified a different group.

  8. To me its very simple, if they are accused in napoles’s affidavit its easy to refute if they are innocent. 1st off did they channel money through her fake ngo’s. Because surely where ever they channelled their funds throught what ever agency or agencies it has to be recorded somewhere. So now if napoles has implicated them & it can be proved their money didnt go through her ngo’s then it shows she is lying. I hope what she alleges is fully investigated as if they dont it will show the incompetence of everyone involved in sorting out this horrible mess. But we know billions of pesos have been stolen what we want is the guilty imprisoned for the rest of their lives & we also want to innocent to be free.

  9. Tony Serquina on

    If only pinoys knew what american political analysts are saying on tv about the phils, that america will not go to war with china to defend phils because the country is nothing but a poor, backward and corrupt nation and is not worth sacrificing amerian lives for. So all this zarzuela about the napoles caper is but another episode of a never ending telenovela that mirrors the eternally corrupt and hopeless country called the philippines.

  10. mikhail hieronymus on

    If there is any time in our history that we need another People Power, now is that time. Our senators, congressmen and other elected officials are all corrupt. The people in the administration are all involved in the practice of corruptions, one way or the other, and the president is protecting and coddling said officials

    People took to the street in France long time ago. Recently people in Libya, Egypt, and our people at one time raise to throw away a corrupt administration. Let us hope that the people will wake up one day and take the necessary ACTION.

    PEOPLE RAISE AND SAVE OUR COUNTRY!!!!!!!

  11. apolonio reyes on

    I read in your paper that a pastor once said ” A LEADER, HOWEVER HONEST (PNOY? ), IF HE TOLERATES THE EVIL DOINGS OF HIS OFFICAL FAMILY IS MORE GUILTY OF EVIL DOINGS “. If Pnoy always tolerates the graft and corruptions not only of his official family, the cabinet, but also lowly MRT3 manager, how can we call him HONEST ABE?
    Yes, I believe Mr. Ang, that if SEC. D5 keep people in the dark, a bloody revolution is not far away. I hope not as I pity my grandchildren who are still young and have not hand in this mess done by our EXECU-THIVES and LEGISLA-THIEVES. aBAD, aLCALA, eVARDONE, “little lady” uMALI, ETC. Maski anong cover nyo sa mga baho nyo MGA LEGSI-THIEVES, people still believe that you are part of the BIGGEST CRIME SYNDICATE IN THE WORLD, THE PHILIPPINE LEGISLA-THIEVES and EXECU-THIEVES. ANG BAHO NYO AY SINGAW NA SA APAT NA SULOK NG PILIPINAS, DI BA HO NYO ALAM??
    GISING, GISING BAYAN, SA INYONG KAMAY NAKASALALAY ANG IKABUBUTI AT IKASASAMA NG PILIPINAS.

  12. If Sec. De lima will not sanitized the list given by napoles and do it right to prosecute all involved i am sure that all pilipino people will be be behind her. Go de Lima Go.

    • But she doesn’t want to reveal the list without sanitizing it…she can only reveal the names without sanitizing it if she would resign from her position because revealing it is tantamount to declaring war against the President.

  13. Dominador D. Canastra on

    This page 1 article (“Growing anger over PDAF scam could bring govt down” by Dr. Dante Ang) and your editorial the other day “Drilon is right — what he and pals did to Corona was wrong” sum up the depth to which Philippine governance has sunk.

    You are right, Dr. Ang, instead of acting as a statesman President Benigno S. Aquino III is behaving like a conman coddling his partners in crime.

    And reading also R. Tiglao’s article about the plight of the heroic former Commission on Audit chief, Reynaldo Villar, who was the person who started the probe into the PDAF scam and for refusing to lie about former president Arroyo has been put in jail by President Aquino and his people, I am led to believe the Aquino government has become something like a Mafia-controlled machinery.

    We can only ask God, through the intercession of the new canonized saints John Paul II and John XXIII and of course Our Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, to help our country escape the fate of similar states that have fallen under the control of crooks, drug lords and criminal syndicates.

    Dominador D. Canastra

    • I couldn’t agree more with your views, Mr. Canastra. The Aquino administration is morally bankrupt. Philippine Congress has sold its soul to the devil and made itself servile to the Office of the President. Never has the principle of co-equality of the branches of government become so lopsided in favour of Malacanang. Were the Philippines a parliamentary system this government would have long collapsed and fresh elections called.

      Every day, the mantra of “tuwid na daan” is proving to be one of the greatest lies ever concocted by a president.

      Never has a sitting president so brazenly violated the constitution in many respects, so eloquently essayed by other brave journalists and legal luminaries elsewhere.

      I congratulate courageous writers like Dr. Dante Ang and publications like The Manila Times, Manila Standard, and The Daily Tribune for their reasoned and brave coverage on the burning issues of the day.

      In our desperation, and since political forces don’t seem to keep up with the realities of the times, I can only join you in seeking divine intervention to heal our nation.

    • It’s obvious from two commentaries of Dr. Ang that he represents an anti-Aquino group vent on distorting issues to support his diatribe and not necessarily beneficial to the country. His first article is supportive of the Ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Corona and against those who impeached him. It makes you wonder why, when Filipinos know that the evidence is strong showing Mr. Corona’s disastrous role as Chief Justice with an unexplained financial wealth. Nobody in his right mind would defend such indefensible behavior. Now in this latest article he is turning the table on President who is principally responsible for busting this “beehive of corrupt politicians” following his mandate in the last election. All these ” bees” scampering, biting back and creating havoc are the result of his.determined effort to expose and prosecute them. He is not the bee keeper but the bee buster. So Dr. Ang is grossly mistaken to confuse the issue by attemting to blame him for all this corruption.

    • You have all the reason to believe that Aquino administration is a Mafia controlled mechanism….I also have the reason to believe that he is a dictator in camouflage.

  14. Gone are the days when the people have no way of expressing directly their displeasure and sentiments about their government; there is now such animal as “Netizens”. I hope the “powers that be” are mindful of the plight of the growing number of poor families in our country despite the perceived positive economy. Histories of other countries and of the world should not be taken lightly; “extreme needs breed rage”,.

    • If the prime minister of South Korea resigned over a matter not directly related to his position, sana si Noynoy na man, being an Aquino, the only begotten son of Benigno and Corazon Aquino, should have the will and wisdom to relinquish the Presidency in order to preserve the good name of his parents!