By the simple ruse of preparing and leaking a list of persons (legislators, executive officials, factotums, hirelings, including journalists and whatever), who allegedly took bribes and commissions from her, Janet lim Napoles has mystifyingly gotten back on top of the mountain of scandal and dirt that she has singularly invented and inflicted on the nation.
By that simple ruse, she has this nation of 100 million squirming and hanging upon her word.By her simple ruse, she has converted the secretary of justice into her personal factotum, depriving us of the attorney general of the people that she is supposed to be.
By that simple ruse, she has the rehabilitation czar for Yolanda-stricken regions taking a vacation from his job so he can horn in on the publicity.
By her simple ruse, she has transformed the all-powerful media in this country into her lapdogs, praying that she will favor them with her revelations.
Looking at all this, it strikes me that she is taking us on yet another ride? And we are none the wiser for the wild-and-woolly ride she took us on the first time.
Let’s get serious and get back to the facts:
1) Inquirer expose
When the Philippine Daily Inquirer detonated its expose back in April 2013, it set off a tsunami of scandal that would be impossible to contain and would be so devastating that it would discredit the entire Congress and shake the foundations of the Aquino government.
As related by its reporter Nancy Carvajal, the Inquirer discovered that:
1. Close to 200 people, including lawmakers, department heads, a former Supreme Court justice, popular media personalities, heads of government-owned and -controlled corporations, government employees of various agencies, local government officials, lawyers, military officials, show-biz personalities, employees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and private individuals received money from Napoles based on the records of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
2. The transactions of lawmakers were of two categories.
One, there were legislators who repeatedly funneled huge funds to Napoles organizations and personally received kickbacks from her. Two, there were legislators who allocated a minimal amount of their pork barrel funds through agents and representatives.
3. Kickbacks were handed out by Napoles, using bank fund transfers, checks, cash delivered to their houses or picked up at the JLN office in Discovery Center in Ortigas, Pasig City. Other places used as venues for deliveries of kickbacks were hotels, restaurants and coffee shops. Some legislators received kickbacks in foreign currency, the files of Benhur Luy showed.
4. Benhur’s records also showed that Napoles controlled 21 foundations. Napoles knew some of the personalities of other equally questionable organizations, which were also beneficiaries of hundreds of millions of pesos from legislators.
Benhur’s records were part of the evidence used by the Office of the Ombudsman in filing plunder cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and 74 others.
Equally significant, Benhur’s records showed that apart from the estimated P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations and the Malampaya Fund, other public funds were also sources of kickbacks for the lawmakers through Napoles. The other sources were budget insertions, allocations for hard projects like farm-to-market roads, appropriation funds for calamity, nationwide equipment enhancement programs and department savings.
2) Napoles, the Mastermind
From Caravajal’s report, it sounds helter-kelter and chaotic.
But there was a mind controlling it all. And it was the mastermind, Janet Lim Napoles.
As the scandal developed, highlighted by a media feeding frenzy, more aspects of the massive pork-barrel scam emerged, and the criminal brilliance of Napoles came to light.
The nation’s legislators, particular senators and top officers of the Senate, proved to be willing accomplices in defrauding the government. By then the senators had increased their annual pork outlay to P200million per senator, and P70 million per congressman.
Napoles could milk the system effectively, because she saw clearly and without sentimentality that Philippine politics and governance is all a sham. She saw the greed, the hypocrisy, and the impunity in the system.
On this insight, she constructed her scam. And she would succeed because she was prepared to offer the senators and congressmen their kickbacks in advance and in cash. For her scheme to work, clearly she needed ample sources of financing, maybe billions. Since she started the scam at the start of the millennium, her operations raised plenty of capital, and her net worth had shot up to billions by the time Noynoy Aquino became president in 2010.
By 2010, Napoles had become a kingmaker in her own right, able to contribute handsomely to the campaigns of various candidates, including candidates for president.
During this period, Napoles showed her clout by the kind of powerful people who showed up as guests at her parties, and the personages who asked her for favors.
We do not use the word outlaw to describe women out of a misguided sense of chivalry. But in Janet Napoles’ case, the word is well-deserved. Indeed, we should go a little farther with her, by calling her “the outlaw-in chief.”
3. Napoles’s list is a sting
Napoles’ pork barrel scam was designed from first to last to defraud the government of billions of pesos. And she was abetted every step of the way by officials in the executive and the legislative branches of government, and by some in the media.
But now, in another audacious move, Napoles is implementing a major sting operation designed to deodorize her image and exculpate her of her sins.
Noting how desperate the Aquino administration was to find evidence with which to indict and convict opposition senators and legislators, Napoles hit upon the idea of naming all the legislators and public officials who fed at her trough.
Using her appointment with a surgeon as a convenient excuse, she spoke of talking to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and delivering a supposed list. One would think that if she was truly contrite, she would deliver a confession.
The scheme was derailed by de Lima, who decided to do a striptease and teased the nation about the list. On the pretense of validating every name mentioned, she took weeks to make it public.
Other characters decided to horn in on the issue, specially former senator Panfilo Lacson, who claimed to have a copy of the list and wanted an executive sassion with the Senate.
4. Napoles’s project of purgation
The nation is being distracted and made a fool twice over by Napoles.
Already defrauded of billions of our money, we the public are now being fed the pathetic story that we are witnessing now an act of purgation by Napoles.
She will try to look properly religious and contrite. Perhaps a priest or two will celebrate Mass for her.
‘It is all a sham.
The Janet Napoles circus must be folded up. She should be downsized and haled to court. For the nation’s sanity. And for the survival of the 16th Congress, while there is still time.