Editorial: Too much Napoles-A A +A
Friday, August 30, 2013
THE day after Janet Lim-Napoles surrendered to President Noynoy Aquino, the media and the social media got caught in what can be described as Napoles frenzy. The frenzy has still to subside.
From the beginning, Napoles has been the focus of public attention, especially from people and groups who are now campaigning for the abolition of the pork barrel system.
There has recently been an increase in awareness of the issue after the “P10 billion” pork barrel scam was exposed by witness Benhur Luy. Napoles is at the center of that scam, accused of setting up bogus non-government organizations where the pork of some lawmakers was funneled.
It is in this sense that the “Napoles frenzy” can be justified.
But this should not lead to oversaturation that could cloud our view of the pork barrel issue. Napoles is only one of the protagonists in the pork mess and focusing too much on her could free from condemnation the others who may be as guilty or guiltier.
While it is true that Napoles played a big role in the scam exposed by Luy and the other whistleblowers that followed his lead, she could not have done it without the lawmakers who provided her with the money. These lawmakers are benefitting from the attention Napoles is getting.
The seeming hesitation of concerned government agencies to expose these lawmakers is understandable. But after weeks of Napoles bashing, perhaps it is time to move on to the other suspects.
When Luy and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) exposed the scam involving Napoles, the names of some senators and several congressmen were initially mentioned.
Since then, exposes on these lawmakers and the others who may have been involved have lessened.
In the meantime, the investigations conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Justice on the pork barrel mess have unearthed more instances of public funds misuse that did not even involve Napoles. But investigators have so far refused to name names.
The extent of Napoles’s supposed participation in a scam involving the pork barrel is already well-chronicled. Yet the public has been left blind as to the involvement of corrupt lawmakers not only in the scam attributed to Napoles but also in other cases of pork barrel skimming.
It’s time to move on from Napoles to the bigger fish.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 31, 2013.