The first thing you notice about the whistleblowers involved in the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam is the manner with which they act during the senate blue ribbon committee. They seem at ease and familiar with the people around them as if they were in a social gathering with their drinking buddies and not in a hearing with some of the most powerful people in the Philippines to discuss a major criminal investigation.
Original whistleblower Benhur Luy walked with the same confidence of a person without a care in the world. He said his hellos to everyone in the room as he walked towards his seat. I notice him do this every time I watch a video of his appearances in these so-called “hearings”. Luy looks very comfortable in front of the camera and being the center of attention. A male friend of mine said that he felt like punching his face every time he saw that stupid grin on his face. I responded by saying that I personally would go as far as giving him a better haircut if I ever see him in person.
Indeed, there is something about Luy that makes one think that the guy is some kind of psychopath. One can be forgiven for thinking that there could be something wrong with him because he comes across as someone who thinks he is cool even after admitting to all the crimes he committed when he was still working for alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. He probably thinks other people see him as some kind of hero for what he is doing – snitching on his former boss after being cut-off from the lucrative scam operation.
The latest whistleblower Ruby Tuason is not easy on the eyes as well. I’m not saying she is ugly. I’m just saying that whatever charm she had during her heydays is obviously past it’s use-by date. I mean, it’s hard to imagine now how she successfully climbed the social ladder and managed to rub elbows with the who’s who in Philippine politics once upon a time since her first appearance in the blue ribbon committee failed to convince the audience watching the live teledrama that she is “sincere”. It didn’t help that she kept eating chips while being grilled by senators in front of the media. Some people also noted how she greeted Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima with a kiss on the cheek upon seeing her. The beso-beso gesture seemed to indicate that Tuason and De lima go way back. This could explain why it was easy for Tuason to apply as a state witness in exchange for her freedom.
The other whistleblowers, I didn’t even realize there were more, are not even worth mentioning. They are all very insignificant in the scheme of things. They shouldn’t even bother to wear the bulletproof vest provided for them because aside from being over the top, I don’t think anyone would bother hiring an assassin to kill them at this point. The whole thing — the hearings, the testimonies and even the senators’ line of questioning — seemed all too scripted. Senator Teofisto Guingona’s use of basketball terms like “slam dunk” and “three-point shot” in describing Tuason’s testimony is proof of this. If there ever was someone who deserves a punch in the face…it’s someone who tries to be funny during a serious proceeding.
The recent Senate hearing is already proof that members of congress are just trying to distract the Filipino public from the real issues plaguing the nation. They are also trying to justify their existence in public office. They should be doing something more important than asking silly questions and leave the “investigation” of the alleged crimes to the law enforcement agencies. These Senate hearings never lead to a conviction of any of the corrupt public servants in question in the first place. I don’t recall any of these hearings ever resulting in aiding Congress with their legislations. It’s all a waste of time like my colleague said.
Aside from his failed attempts at humor, Senator Guingona also failed to convince the public that Tuason should be lauded for her “sacrifices” in coming out as a whistleblower. Well, it’s not like she had a choice. From her own testimony, it seems she was going to end up broke and alone in the U.S. as a fugitive, unable to see the extended family she left behind as she enters her twilight years if she didn’t surrender to Philippine authorities. And considering Senator Jinggoy Estrada already said no to giving her funds, allegedly, when she tried to ask him for help, it probably became crystal clear to Tuason what she had to do to redeem herself and “clear” her name.
There is also something to be said about the way Senator Jinggoy Estrada reacts to Tuason’s testimonies against him. He had a rebuttal for every accusation against him. He also appeared calm and in a jolly mood. He made light of the situation he is in by making fun of the whistleblowers and the senators conducting the investigation. He says he only recalls Tuason delivering sandwiches to his office and not bags of money from Napoles.
Having been a part of a sham in the past, in particular, the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, Jinggoy probably knows all too well how his “esteemed” colleagues think and plan their attack on their political enemies. And having seen his own father, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada survive being impeached, charged and jailed for plunder, Jinggoy knows that he can also survive the scandal by using his celebrity status to win the crowd. It remains to be seen if his charm will still work on the Filipino people after being implicated in the pork barrel scam. But if you were to bet on it, you would put your money on Jinggoy. Only because the Filipino people have a history of electing the same public officials who rob tax payer’s money again and again.
In a plea to the public to give her another chance, Tuason confessed that she is scared to go to jail. She said she would rather die than go to prison. She said this as if the people would be moved by her admission that she didn’t want to go to jail for her involvement in stealing public funds. Apparently, while she was enjoying squandering other people’s money when she was still Napoles’s gofer, she didn’t think about the possibility of going to prison. In other words, she was delusional and didn’t think she would get caught. Now that she has been caught, she has become religious. She keeps mentioning God and how often she prays to show that she is a god-fearing person. It’s as if doing that will erase the crime she committed. Unfortunately, if Tuason or any of the accused in the pork barrel scam doesn’t go to jail, other people will be emboldened to copy their crimes.
The first thing you notice about the whistleblowers involved in the priority development assistance fund scam or pork barrel scam is the manner with which they act during the senate blue ribbon committee. They all act like they are trying to pull our legs. We all know that these whistleblowers didn’t come forward because their conscience bothered them. If they had any conscience in the first place, they would never have been involved in the pork barrel scam for years.
[Sandwich meme courtesy Showbiz Government.]
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