Napoles from Basilan wasn’t the scam’s mastermind, the Yellow Cult’s pillars were

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RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

C’MON, do you really think that Janet Napoles, who grew up in Basilan and didn’t reach college, who was never in government, was the mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam, which required a deep and detailed knowledge of how Congress really works and how to go around government’s labyrinthine bureaucratic processes?

Do you think that she even knew, before she was recruited into the scam, what an “NGO”—which became the venue for siphoning off state funds—meant and was?

Only somebody or some group that could find technicalities to evade Congress’ budget law, as they did in the case of the Disbursement Acceleration Program scheme, could have thought of and confidently executed the pork barrel scam.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd as early as last year had claimed that Napoles’ lawyer had informed him that she had implicated Senators Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes, and Leila de Lima as well as Aquino’s budget secretary, Florencio Abad, in the pork-barrel scam that involved siphoning government funds into politicians’ pockets.


The acquittal in May 2017 from kidnapping charges of Janet Napoles, whom the Aquino regime and the media it controlled had painted as the mastermind of the mammoth pork-barrel scam, was the start of the unraveling of the Liberal Party’s second biggest crime, the first being its political assassination of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The justice department’s taking her in as a state witness last month accelerates the unearthing, finally, of this colossal crime. This is a bold move as Napoles has been demonized so much by media, especially the Philippine Daily Inquirer to which the Aquino government in 2013 gave exclusive access to the alleged whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

Broke records
Napoles’ trial for allegedly kidnapping her longtime assistant and relative Luy—the government’s star witness in fingering opposition politicians—broke all records of litigation speed. After just a year of trial, she was sentenced to life imprisonment. That doesn’t happen even in the most advanced nations on earth with the most efficient legal systems.

It was only because of the powerful media that supported Aquino in those years that the obvious could be concealed: The administration wanted her put in jail as soon as possible.

Napoles and daughter Jeane with Aquino (left photo), and then (right photo) as a guest in Malacañang in 2013 with Spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras waiting for Aquino.

Why? Obviously since in jail, she would fear for her life and keep silent on the real story of the pork-barrel scam. She would not reveal that Aquino’s top lieutenants and most of his Liberal Party congressmen and senators had in fact amassed hundreds of millions of pesos in such government funds.

There were rumors that Aquino himself, his ideologue, then budget secretary Florencio Abad, and his top political operator Franklin Drilon were longtime friends of Napoles herself.

Indeed, how could Aquino, Abad and Drilon, who had been in Congress for more than two decades and major players there, not have known about the pork-barrel scam and Napoles herself?

Aquino’s selfies with Napoles
When “selfies” weren’t yet popular, Aquino himself had such photos with Napoles, and smiling from ear to ear not only with her, but with her husband and daughter. For an alleged big-time swindler, it was even Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda who fetched Napoles, who had gone into hiding, from a rendezvous point and brought her to Malacañang itself to confer with Aquino and his budget secretary, Abad.

It was the President of the Republic and his heir apparent then, Mar Roxas, who accompanied Napoles—the three riding in his official limousine—to her first detention cell at Camp Crame. Aquino even inspected Napoles’ cells, and reportedly gave instructions to the warden.

Why?
The Yellow cultists of course thought that Filipinos are so gullible they wouldn’t see through what they were doing: Aquino and his officials were making sure that Napoles was never out of their sight, from the moment she surrendered to her incarceration, where of course she could have met some accident. Aquino accompanied her to assure her that no harm would be done to her. As long as she cooperated with them?

Here are some of the facts on why the entire pork-barrel scam would be exposed fully by the Duterte administration, with Napoles as state witness:

• Very conveniently, the Commission on Audit (COA) special audit covered only the period from 2007 to 2009, or during President Arroyo’s term in 2009. There were reports that the COA had another audit to cover the three years from 2010 to 2012, or during Aquino’s time. Duterte should make this report public.

• Very strangely, most of the congressman (of course not all) implicated and charged for graft because they pocketed their pork barrel were not of the Yellow horde. Were those who swore fealty to the Yellow Cult just coincidentally the most upright of congressmen?

• Very coincidentally, the three senators charged with pork-barrel graft in 2013 were the then leading lights of the opposition, two of whom—Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla—were considered to have the potential of running for the presidency or vice presidency in 2016. I am certainly not a big fan of these two former actors, but still, why just them and not other senators and congressmen?

The pork-barrel scam exposé was in the mold of a Yellow plot, as its removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona was: Under the guise of undertaking a noble cause, upholding the matuwid na daan, the Aquino regime with the help of media, was pursuing its own selfish agenda.

In Corona’s case, it was for the Aquino clan to get P5 billion for putting under agrarian reform its Hacienda Luisita and to control the judiciary. In the pork barrel scam, it was to weaken the opposition that it won’t have any chance in the 2016 elections, so that another Yellow president would take over.

Justice Secretary Aguirre is certainly, obviously right: It’s not Napoles who is the most guilty in the pork barrel scam. Stalwarts of the Yellow Cult are, and Duterte, I am confident, will finally expose the perpetrators of this grand theft of our tax money.

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao

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