I had asserted earlier in a previous article that the investigation on the pork barrel scam should build a case from the ground up without having to be coloured by media and publicity stunts and the noise around these drummed up by the country’s vacuous “activist” mobs. This echoes what Senator Aquilino Pimentel III points out: that there is a paper trail wherever large sums of money change hands and that trail should be used to build a body of evidence out of which the “direction” of the investigation will emerge and suspects identified.
Whilst it is in everyone’s right (under the doctrine of “freedom of speech”) to call for the resignation of government officials found to be associated with the pork barrel scam by virtue of loud voices and much-publicised lists, these politicians and officials are under no obligation to accede. Staying put and (if they are good boys and girls and listen to their legal counsels’ advise) keeping their mouths shut, is the best policy from their perspective.
Calling whistle-blower Benhur Luy’s files “useless nonsense,” Pimentel on Friday said the government should spend more time collating official documents to build an airtight case against those responsible for the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Unlike other members of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Pimentel saw no need to summon Luy to a public hearing to explain his digital files that detailed transactions between alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and lawmakers and government officials.
He said the Department of Justice should follow the paper trail by gathering documents such as special allotment release orders, notices of cash allocation, checks and approvals.
“Let’s concentrate on evidence that can be used in the courts of law, not the court of public opinion,” he said.
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The justice system, presumably, is chugging along connecting the dots and fleshing out the real picture. If it is not, then, hey, perhaps that is the issue these activists should be raising their digital stink about.
Indeed, ironically this is what the first statement in the loudest of these “activist” voices is saying. The second paragraph of a “unity statement” of the so-called “6.12.14 Protest Coalition” of the “Scrap Pork Network” reads…
The painfully slow progress in the investigation and prosecution of the pork scandals involving Janet Lim-Napoles’ network, among others, robs the nation blind in the realms of justice and transparency, and steals energy that could otherwise be focused on development tasks.
We don’t even have to read the rest of the “statement”. The core issue had already been identified at the start of the blurb. Interestingly, the authors of the statement highlight how Filipinos “have been given the run-around” on account of a proliferation of lists and how various “sectors seemingly use and discard lists or delete names according to their interests.” Funny, considering that it is this same activist group that, just a couple weeks back, loudly demanded the lists be released for public consumption, citing a need to “enable citizens to independently inquire into and verify what funds and projects were involved, and who among our public officials may have been involved.”
Well, funny that as this is exactly what we got: “independent inquiries” left and right, uniformed and costumed crusaders swooped in to make makisawsaw — i.e., dip their fingers into the morass and, in the process, stir it up further into an incomprehensible slush.
If these “activists” have, to begin with, applied a clear understanding of the key issue (the quality of the investigation being mounted by the Department of Justice), ignored the pointless distraction (the Napoles Lists) and, instead, focused on pushing for an uplift of the quality of that investigation (gather otherwise readily-available evidence and scientifically piece them together), then perhaps less time would have been wasted.
Don’t just “jail all”, jail the right ones.
Lessons need to be learned so as not to revert back to the bad old days of ocho-ocho “activism” that characterised the mid-2000s. For those lessons to be hammered in, one does need to call out every now and then:
Told ya so.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.