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Monday, September 9, 2013
THE first generation earns the money, the second develops the culture, and the third squanders the wealth away.
If interviews with childhood neighbors be true, both mother Janet and daughter Jeane Napoles skipped a generation. While mother absconded with people’s money, daughter squandered with full abandon, seeing culture as hobnobbing with Hollywood celebrities.
The display of wealth--sickening because ostentatious and revolting because unwarranted by employment or pedigree--rightfully conjures images of a former First Lady.
Imelda Romualdez-Marcos might have had 3,000 pairs of shoes, but Jeane favors and shows off her Charles Loboutin shoes and says, “I like sparkly things and Swarovski on my shoes.” This, from an unemployed 23-year-old!
So, stories have easily spread about the extent of Janet Napoles’s wealth. Reportedly, she has at least 415 bank accounts, 50 houses, a private plane, yachts and even a submarine, stuff of which urban legend is made.
She has vehemently denied owning a plane, yacht and submarine. If Filipinos just concocted these stories, it can only be because it’s difficult to fathom what P10 billion can and cannot buy. Gosh! I can’t even imagine what a P75 million apartment in Primea must look like, only that it is one of the swankiest residential buildings on
Ayala Ave. in Makati.
But those photos and video footages of bodies being fished out of the floods in Luzon, and of life at a standstill in the streets and commercial districts burn in our memory. It would take about P5 billion for the rehabilitation program so that such calamity doesn’t happen again.
For half of the P10 billion PDAF scammed, 33 Filipinos did not have to die during the deluge. Instead, those sums lined the pockets of five senators and 23 congressmen and government officials.
Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad described the recent “Million People March” as showing people’s “galit” about the PDAF scam. Expectedly, during an informal radio survey on the appropriate punishment for Napoles, listeners’ suggestions ranged from the cruel to the ridiculous.
One suggested the Japanese “hara-kiri” or burning at stake. Another wanted a finger cut off for every “X” million of money carted away. Still another wanted Napoles tied and gagged to a tree of disturbed bees. Others stated death by electric chair using only five watts.
Prior to her surrender, Napoles reportedly told one whistleblower that she’d be acquitted in four to five years, supposedly because of her contacts in the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales believes otherwise. In a recent TV interview, she
gave a cryptic “They should have very good lawyers.”
Now comes Napoles lawyer Lorna Kapunan relaying concerns about her client’s claustrophobia, high blood pressure and diabetes. Also that “nababastusan na” with the frequent media updates about her client and the six CCTV cameras in her detention cell.
What? While many Filipinos hardly know where their next meal is coming from, Janet Napoles spirited away people’s billions, lived like Marie Antoinette, and spun a wide net of corruption. Still, she dares bellyache about a small room and lack of privacy?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 09, 2013.