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Commentary
September 18, 2013

Guilty by Photography

MARKETING PORK

“Dapat absolutely, unconditionally, and completely alisin ang pork barrel.”

(The pork barrel has to be abolished absolutely, unconditionally, and completely.)

This was Senator Chiz Escudero’s firm statement in my interview with him on DWIZ882.

Some lawmakers even do walk-ins into Benhur Luy’s office just to “sell” their PDAF like they would a kilo of meat!

Truly bargain masters!

SPOKEN FROM EXPERIENCE

The PDAF is an entitlement of lawmakers. Each congressman gets P70 million each year while each senator gets P200 million. The DBM has no choice but to release these to the legislators given that the President has no instructions for them to hold these.

ESCUDERO: “Tulad nang nangyari sa akin noong nakalipas na administrasyon, hindi ako na-releasan dahil ayaw ni GMA.”

(Like what happened with me in the past administration, my PDAF was not released because GMA wanted it so.)

WIDESPREAD

We asked if line agencies or implementing agencies will also be charged.

“Definitely!”

Sen. Chiz says this is because of Benhur Luy’s statement that they have contact with cabinet secretaries.

MISSING LINK

According to Sen. Escudero, all those involved should be charged, regardless of the amount they got―whether small or large, these are still stolen from the country.

82 NGOs were used. 8 of these are Napoles’ where more than a billion pesos passed through. The P6 billion still remains missing.

LEGAL QUANDARY

The Senate is set to invite the banks from where Napoles withdraws her millions like the Metrobank Magdalena branch.

Sen. Chiz would like to ask if they employ the “Know your client” rule of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. How can a person withdraw P75 million and other large sums of money without raising a red flag?

This is a puzzler for Sen. Chiz.

Respondents DOJ case

Respondents charged with plunder along with Janet Lim-Napoles (L-R): Former APEC Partylist Rep. Edgar Valdez, Sen. Bong Revilla, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and former Congresswoman and now-Governor Rizalina Lanete

NON-BAILABLE

According to the Revised Penal Code, the threshold amount of malversation is set at P22,000 only. When the amount exceeds this number, it automatically counts as a non-bailable offense.

This means that even if the case filed against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada.; ex-cong. Rizalina Lanete, and APEC Partylist Rep. Edgar Valdez is not plunder, they would still have to work at crafting laws in jail while the case is ongoing.

Janet Lim-Napoles is one of the 38 respondents charged with violating Malversation/Direct Bribery/Graft Practices Act in the case filed by the DOJ at the Office of the Ombudsman.

GUILTY BY PHOTOGRAPHY

There is an appeal to not judge prematurely those who appear in photos with a person who is accused of being a criminal. We should avoid marking people as “guilty by photography”. Their presence in a photo should not merit automatic condemnation.

It’s a different matter altogether when the nature of the photos imply intimacy. You cannot deny that you know that person.

As the song goes, “A picture paints a thousand words…”

PERFECTING TECHNIQUE

So what has the Senate Blue Ribbon committee achieved so far in tackling the issue of the Pork Barrel scam?

“Na-establish ang modus operandi na well-oiled machine, na parang factory ng kung anong produkto na mechanical na ang kanilang ginagawa. Kung papaano i-convert ang pera ng gobyerno o taong bayan na para maging pera nila.”

(It has been established that the modus operandi of this operation is like that of a well-oiled machine. They have become like a factory, mechanical in the way they go about their business of converting public funds into their own private wealth.)

MASTERMIND

Many have been asking if there exists a higher power than Napoles or a mastermind. In Sen. Chiz’s assessment, he agrees with Benhur when the later stated that as far as he knows, Napoles is the highest in the hierarchy of this operation.

But this is merely the point of view of an employee like Benhur.

QUICK DRAW

One of the reasons why Janet Lim-Napoles got angry with Benhur Luy was because the latter set up his own NGOs. Other than the conflict of interest that would arise from such a move, his NGOs would also become direct competitors of Napoles’ NGOs.

So even if Benhur Luy was able to earn a lot in employing a similar strategy to that of Napoles’ and even if he is seen in casinos spending all these, he will still be pardoned.

He is now a whistleblower or a state witness. Not only is he lucky, he also got to safety first.

Quotable quote:

“DAIG NG MAAGAP ANG MASIPAG!”

 

 

Photo credits: senate.gov.phstopconass.blogspot.comphilpro.ph

Photos used under the Fair Use Exemption of the IP Code.

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