As expected, the usual suspects are taking the top-management cue and mounting a massive online quibble over the contents of a bunch of name-and-shame lists, purportedly of members of Congress who’ve had “dealings” with alleged pork barrel scam ringleader Janet Lim Napoles, floating around. What exactly will these lists prove? Nothing really. What is at stake here, it seems, is who will be the first to the scoop.
Online and bricks-and-mortar “activism” has always been about fuelling lynch mobs. Because Philippine Congress consists of popularly-elected officials, the presumed thinking out there (if credit is due these “activists”) is that if a list of Congress people associated with Napoles is published, the voters would think twice about re-electing them or, as preferred by not a few, pressure them into stepping down from office.
Really now, we should really be re-thinking all that. In a society where rapists, plunderers, rebel leaders, idiots, winos, and, yes, thieves repeatedly get re-elected to office, I wouldn’t put much faith in that prospect. What exactly will a public shaming of senators and House representatives achieve? The list of such bozos who’ve been shamed many times yet got re-elected is a lot longer than any list Napoles could come up with.
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Fact is, evidence of pork thievery has been staring Filipinos in the face and festering under their noses for decades. Filipinos have, essentially, been living in a bad neighbourhood and keeping their doors unlocked — even wide open — all that time knowing all this. Worse, they’ve been hiring the very thieves who’ve been stealing them blind to patrol their neighbourhoods.
Who’s the real idiot here?
Oh pardon moi, in the Philippines, there are no idiots. Only victims.
If we are to believe all these “thought leaders” making a big hoo-ha about all the usual wrong arguments, Ms Napoles and the wad of Napoles Lists she’s thrown to the birdbrains to feast on constitute the biggest breakthrough in the nation’s collective efforts to rid itself of pork barrel thievery.
I beg to differ.
Fraud involving public funds is one of the easiest crimes to investigate and prosecute. It is a walk in the park. Where there is a paper trail leading to fraud, you win. Where there is no paper trail, you win as well. The principle is quite simple:
Senators and House representatives who are custodians of pork barrel funds are accountable for how they are disbursed.
It’s a two-part principle:
(1) Fraudulently disburse them, you go to jail.
(2) Lose control of or even just misplace these funds, guess what: you still go to jail.
Any bank teller or checkout chick will understand those simple tenets of funds management.
To put pork thieves in jail, we don’t need Napoles nor any lists being grandstanded today by a president, an ex police chief, a Secretary of “justice”, and a mob of Twitter “hashtag activists”. We just need good auditors, good police officers, and honst-to-goodness prosecutors who are on the people’s side. Unfortunately for Filipinos, history has proven that none such exist in the Philippines. What we do have are lots of bozos who want to be president, and many more who want to be senators and congressmen. Why? Because there will always be lots of pork to feast on — and lots of idiotic voters who will elect them into office.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.