A test for PNoy’s anti-corruption drive

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Friday, April 25, 2014


PHILPPINE Tribune columnist Ninez Cacho-Olivarez, in her article published yesterday, came up with the list of senators allegedly involved in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam. The list was purportedly based on the unsigned affidavit of alleged pork barrel scam brain Janet Lim-Napoles.

Former senator and now rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and the president of whistleblowers group, Sandra Cam, also claimed to have in their possession the same documents.

Those supposedly in the list were Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sens. Alan Peter Cayetano, Manny Villar, Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid, Francis Escudero, Tito Sotto, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada. Only Enrile, Revilla and Estrada have so far been charged before the Ombudsman for the scam.

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Two Cabinet members, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, plus scores of congressmen were also allegedly in the affidavit.

Abad, according to Olivarez, was supposedly tagged as “tutor” of the pork barrel scam.

She claimed that Abad was the one who mentored Napoles. His code name was allegedly “Mr. Straight” because the kickbacks supposedly went directly to his pocket or were deposited in a Singaporean bank.

Alcala, again according to Olivarez, was the “beneficiary” of pork barrel funds from legislators because his department was the conduit to Napoles-created non-government organizations.

Napoles had “spilt the beans” on the scam to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in their meeting few days ago. She reportedly promised de Lima that she would reveal more names of those who played a vital role in the scam.

But will she be qualified to become a state witness considering that she has been tagged as the brains of the scam? She is one of the main accused and is not the “least guilty.”

I know that the names of these Cabinet members and senators already surfaced, together with those of Enrile, Estrada and Revilla, earlier. But how come they were not investigated?

Their alleged involvements were allegedly like those of the three senators charged.

Some of them were actively involved in the inquiry of the Senate blue ribbon committee and even condemned their colleagues, yet they were alleged to be doing the same thing.

But some of them, like Drilon, have consistently denied their involvement in the scam.

Cayetano was accused of pouring some P110 million to various NGOs maintained by Napoles.

Now that additional names have surfaced, many of them administration allies, will they be investigated and, if evidence warrant, charged?

Investigating and prosecuting these personalities will be a “litmus test” for the Aquino administration in its anti-corruption campaign. Does the Aquino administration have the “balls” to go after these people?

***

Congratulations to my good friend, former Sambag 1 barangay captain Ramoncito “Dondon” Arquiza for his election as president of the Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators (Padpao) Region 7 chapter. Controversy hounded this organization a few months back because of some alleged anomalies committed by the previous leadership. As a result, Padpao national dissolved the local chapter prompting its reorganization.

Police Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo was the inducting officer and guest speaker in yesterday's induction of officers. Also, in attendance was Susan Gervacio, director of Padpao national. The induction's theme was, “What is great for Padpao is our love and devotion.”

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 26, 2014.

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