We are amidst a flurry of multiple Napoles Lists — each with different sets of names — emerging from the woodwork! At last count there are four bozos holding such lists — former Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, former whistleblower Sandra Cam, and no less than Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III.
Each one is grandstanding about their version of the list, each of which, supposedly was provided by alleged pork barrel scam ringleader Janet Lim Napoles herself. Apparently, none of them are consistent with the other. The only real brainwave of consequence on the matter of these multiple lists is that “the release of three different lists appears to be aimed at muddling the issue instead of bringing clarity to the pork scam controversy”. Aren’t we all glad President BS Aquino is around to tell us these things?
Seemingly not above the antics of little boys and girls, Lacson and Cam both had at one time or another threatened to reveal their lists if De Lima attempts to “sanitize” hers — a suspicion many in the Philippines social media “activist” community share.
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So now, we are stuck with four different Napoles List versions that are all mutually-inconsistent. Looks like the investigation is pretty much stumped — locked in a stalemate reminiscent of the Cold War doctrine of mutually-assured destruction. Funny that such a motley crew emerged in this Pinoy-style nuclear club — a sitting president, a “justice” secretary, a former senator and chief of police, and a whistleblower.
The manner with which Napoles List grandstanding is being turned into a media circus is quite revealing of how serious Philippine investigators are taking this epic corruption scandal. Fact is, there is enough evidence out there to mount a thorough investigation from the ground up — without having to rely on “whistleblowers” and the lists that were seemingly deliberately released to these bozos in different versions to paralyse the inquiry. Pinoy investigators are, quite simply, just plain lazy.
Money certainly cannot be moved undocumented in those amounts. And even if they could, individual members of Congress only need to be made accountable for funds that couldn’t be accounted for by proper documentation.
It’s simple, really.
Documented fraud is, of course, the best evidence in an embezzlement case. But a lack or ommission of documentation surrounding a movement or change of hands of significant amounts of funds is just as good.
Where there are missing or unaccounted for funds, the person ultimately accontable for the disbursement should be taken to task whether or not there is evidence of fraud.
Senators and House Representatives should be held accountable for both (1) fraudulent use of public funds and (2) misplacing or losing track of funds that they were responsible for.
That goes back to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s original ululation — that “It is not up to the senators to determine whether an NGO is bogus or not…”
It is really that one principle that saves the hide of the scores of members of Philippine Congress who have amassed their fortunes stealing pork. According the Jinggoy Principle, senators and congressmen can be jailed for fraudulent use of pork: but not for misplacing millions of taxpayers’ funds — which is why investigating pork thievery is complicated; because missing pork or pork disbursements that senators and congressmen cannot readily explain are not enough to throw them in jail.
Yet, a lowly bank teller or checkout chick who fails to balance her cash position at the end of trading hours is required to fork out the variance from her own pocket. If she fails to balance consistently, she gets fired and probably thrown in jail.
Yet senators and congressmen who are unable to explain what their pork got spent on to the tune of millions go scott free. It’s easy being a crook in Congress. You get to hide behind the dust kicked up by a president, a former police chief, and a “justice” secretary huffing and puffing about lists given to them by Janet Lim Napoles. It is quite obvious here who gets the last laugh.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.