Napoles is not the most guilty-A A +A
Sunday, September 1, 2013
I DON’T like this repetitive portrayal of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles as the alleged mastermind or brains behind the “P10-billion” pork barrel scam. The repetition could give the accusation a semblance of truth (much like the “P10 billion” figure used to refer to the scam when the amount lost has not been established with certainty yet). And it could play into the hands of those who want to obscure their roles in the pork barrel heist.
Napoles is certainly not the most guilty in this scam. She’s an outsider and could not have duped senators and congressmen into providing financial support to bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that she created. The most guilty are the lawmakers who used Napoles so they could pocket a big chunk of people’s money.
Consider. When you picture Napoles as the mastermind or the brains, you will end up exonerating the lawmakers who intentionally gave her a chunk of their pork barrel.
Why? Because it would seem that these lawmakers were merely duped by Napoles and are therefore innocent of this sordid act, something that, I would say, is far from the truth.
When their names were linked to Napoles, some senators and congressmen did immediately deny the report. Former Senate president and now Senate minority leader Juan Ponce-Enrile denied knowing Napoles. He also said he did not use his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bankroll bogus NGOs.
Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., listed as the biggest funder of Napoles’s NGOs, denied knowing Napoles “well,” claiming that he only saw her occasionally on certain social gatherings. Interestingly, his son and Napoles’s son are business partners.
Revilla even insinuated that his signatures in documents attesting to the transfer of chunks of his pork barrel to Napoles’s NGOs were forged. This following his announcement that he is hiring a handwriting expert for the purpose.
I reckon that other lawmakers in the list are also professing their innocence.
Suddenly, these high-ranking government officials or former government officials are portraying themselves as either gullible or stupid and Napoles as the wily schemer.
I would say that the blind rage induced by the widespread demonizing of Napoles has obscured our view of the pork barrel scam. When the idea of Napoles turning state witness was broached, some sectors portrayed it as a betrayal of the effort to make those who perpetrated the scam pay for what they did.
Even legal minds were lured into providing a legal prop to the anti-Napoles tirade. Of course, the law has set criteria before an accused can be allowed to turn state witness. And only the court can do the assessment on that. Lawmakers involved in the scam may be laughing at the attempt by lawyers to limit the possibility of Napoles spilling the beans, sort of.
If there’s anybody who can provide us with the truth about the pork barrel scam, it is not whistleblower Benhur Luy, or even the others that eventually followed his lead.
These whistleblowers were not the ones who dealt with the concerned lawmakers. Because of that, they are not in possession of documentary evidence to prove their claims. The one who can provide the proof to pin down the lawmakers is Napoles herself.
Is Janet Lim-Napoles the mastermind in the pork barrel scam or is she a mere conduit used by corrupt lawmakers so they can pocket millions of pesos in public funds for so-called “soft” PDAF projects? Considering the circumstances, I believe in the latter contention.
Napoles could not have duped so many lawmakers for years if she was the brains of the scam. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “It is true that you may fool all the lawmakers some of the time; you can even fool some lawmakers all of the time. But you cannot fool the lawmakers all of the time.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 02, 2013.