WE must begin this editorial by commending the Ombudsman for at last indicting the senators, congressmen and their aides who have been identified by whistleblowers of having been Janet Napoles’ accomplices in the PDAF scam.
We are not saying the accused are guilty. But we do see that the findings of the Ombudsman Office’s investigation show that there is ample evidence to warrant charging these persons at the Sandiganbayan.
That is the proper thing to do. Once there are sufficient and serious indications that the suspects must have committed the crime, they must be charged.
The main reason Filipinos don’t trust our Republic’s justice system is that veritably all the publicized accusations against famous and powerful persons who are suspected and accused by witnesses of having committed crimes of corruption and other forms of punishable wrongdoing, all the frontpage declarations of the Justice secretaries, the top NBI and police authorities, all the probes in Senate and House hearings just end up being entertainment productions.
They make the public hiss in anger against the thieves in high office and their private partners for days while the topic is on the front pages and the hearings are televised. But the whole thing gets forgotten because no charges are filed against the accused and perceived wrongdoers.
The Ombudsman’s filing of the plunder and other cases shows that something is being done to start making people believe that corruption, in the end, does not pay.
This action of the independent Office of the Ombudsman, whose head is a lady, will save the “Daang Matuwid (Righteous Path)” mantra of President Aquino’s administration from being a complete legal and moral failure.
There is something still that must happen, though. It is something thinking and just Filipinos are clamoring poor. Originally it was thought that the clamor was only being made by people who are not allied with President Aquino and his men in the Senate, the House of Representatives and in the coalition of parties that make up the ruling political bloc in our country. But now that clamor has become a common cause of fair-minded Filipinos.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago articulated the clamor yesterday.
“Go after other ‘erring’ senators – Miriam” is our frontpage story about this.
She is asking her Senate colleagues to also investigate their other colleagues who have been implicated by the whistleblowers in the PDAF scam.
She wishes her fellow senators to consider the Ombudsman’s act of charging Senators Enrile, Revilla and Estrada as a “wake-up call for the Senate to conduct another inquiry” this time focused on several senators who are suspected to have released their pork barrel to paper organizations controlled by Janet Lim Napoles so they (the senators) could get the millions that should have gone to poor laborers, peasants, fisherfolk and destitute families.
Senator Santiago wishes the Senate Committee on Ethics to conduct the investigation.
But the Senate is not likely to have the probe Senator Santiago—and the people—are clamoring for. The Ethics Committee has not been constituted. It is apparently the Senate leadership’s policy, perhaps following Malacañang’s bidding, to treat the formation of the Committee on Ethics a low priority. This was admitted by Majority Lerader Alan Peter Cayetano.
The probe will for sure expose administration allies who have also been Janet Lim Napoles’ partners.
What we in The Times wish is for the House also to investigate Palace friends who have also handled their PDAF corruptly.
And we would like to see the Department of Justice to be fair and just–and go after all who pocketed PDAF money no matter what their political allegiances are.