Philippine Daily Star columnist Alex Magno, in one of his progressive columns, spritely labelled the on-going quest for truth behind the PDAF and Malampaya controversy. When a certain Janet Lim Napoles was held to account for it as a consequence of her relative’s revelation, she was wont to tell what she knew. She kept quiet and projected innocence through a veneer of secrecy. Her silence however disquieted a sector, the media and the intrigued people in particular, and they would rather force her to disclose what could have been the center piece of corruption in government. Accordingly, she must show to the world and bare everything she knows to uncover the truth behind the allegation that she pocketed billions of people’s money in collaboration with fellow thieves in government service.
After a while, and it was during that period when she felt danger to her health and mayhap, her physical condition could turn worse and eventually become fatal, she was convinced to reveal what she knew.
Considering the fact that by revealing and baring people, mostly those coming from the legislative and executive woodwork of government, Napoles, after she consented, would be blamed for inducing what columnist Magno would term as “political pornography.” And she submitted a list, various lists, that would detail her role and the participation of people she claimed to have transacted with in the course of using government funds for purposes considered illegal and illegitimate. After her tell-all scene, the reverse of her former silent demeanour, she would find herself mired in deeper controversy. Her previous silence made her a villain, her eventual cooperation made her a villain twice over.
Everyone involved in the controversy and even those observers who wanted to peep into the submitted lists would rather have their own list. As a result, there was a time when passing off a list became a national past time. The list would include a ridiculously large entourage of personalities not only from the legislature but also in show business. Suspicion grew that there were efforts to confuse the public and therefore lower the credibility of government in dealing with its own cleansing process.
And why not? She was late in her offering. She was forwarding information, muddled according to some analysts, which has already been surrendered by whistleblowers. Stacks of documents, soft and hard copies have been surrendered yielding notes and references very critical in establishing where and how the offense of plunder was committed. Even in the absence of a Napoles‘cooperation, a case can still proceed and could be pursued with evidences sealing the fate of those involved in the nefarious act. The recent ruling of Ombudsman of Napoles’ and those who filed motions dismissed their very defence citing that their submissions were merely rehashed of previous motions which have already been decided. That should pave the way for the indictment of those charged accordingly.
With a roomful of evidences, there is likelihood of conviction. Never mind the dilatory tactics and the projection of technical niceties to delay the inevitable, the point is that the case should lead towards an end. And it would definitely proceed to the distribution of penalty. At the end of the day, it would be the lawyers who would win not the hopeless cases but the first half of what has been looted, they who kept their cash registers ringing one defence after another.
And at the further end, it would be the lowly inmates in the prison camp where these convicts would eventually land. They who would accord special treatment, they who would confer safety from common threats, they who would pave the way for their smooth adjustment in a place where the scums and dregs of society converge. In this place, the other half of what they squeezed from the coffers of the people’s pocket will be generously spent.
When everything has been said and done, when penalties have been served, they would all be lily clean, nude as it was, not only for paying society their debts through enforced social disability but whatever has been kept would have been splurge to keep their minds and soul together for a period up until they are released. It would be back to basic. Back to zero.