Control of Malacañang crucial-A A +A
Thursday, May 15, 2014
AFTER all those Janet Lim-Napoles “lists,” now we have the so-called whistleblower Benhur Luy’s list, or okay, Luy’s file, whose contents a Manila newspaper is publishing piecemeal. It looks like the twists in the celebrated P10-billion pork barrel scam just never ends.
The latest twist came from Philippine Daily Inquirer, which has published starting Monday the contents of a file it received more than a year ago, or last April 27, 2013 to be precise. The claim was that the hard drive was given to the paper by Luy’s parents Gertrudes and Arturo.
Many things have happened since Luy was rescued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) when he was allegedly detained illegally by Napoles. After he became a whistleblower, government—from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the Senate--had wrung from him all the information it could get. Cases have already been filed.
The newspaper report claimed that “close to 200 people, including lawmakers, department heads, a former Supreme Court justice, popular media personalities, heads of government-owned and controlled corporations, government employees of various agencies, local government officials, lawyers, military officials, showbiz personalities, employees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and private individuals received money from Napoles.”
But the NBI and the DOJ already checked that list, the result being the filing of plunder and other graft cases with the Office of the Ombudsman against those named by Luy and the other whistleblowers—with the caveat that the filing is being done in batches and only against those whose charges can be supported with enough proof.
Levito Baligod, Luy’s former legal counsel, said that the DOJ got hold of Luy’s digital file in May of last year yet. It was submitted later to the Office of the Ombudsman, which is evaluating the charges. It will reach the Sandiganbayan once cases are filed there.
In fact, Baligod added, hard copies of the files have been made. The computer printout of the files numbered more than 2,000 pages. Luy signed each page even as NBI subjected the files to forensic examination.
Again, it’s not like the “Luy list” is new. It’s the same “list” that NBI and the DOJ used as guide to file cases against those linked to the scam—after additional pieces of evidence were gathered. It is within this context that we should view its publication now.
It’s good to note how the surfacing of supposed lists of government officials linked to the P10-billion PDAF scam has affected public opinion. I tried stepping back to view recent developments from afar and realized that among the beneficiaries of all these are the three senators already facing plunder charges with the Office of the Ombudsman.
They have been forgotten in the midst of the frenzy over the new names linked to the scam either in the Napoles lists or in the Luy list.
I mean, this is no longer about legalities but about politics. It looks like some of the “plunderers” want to lessen the fallout from the scam and make sure that this won’t impact on the 2016 elections. This is done by dragging as many administration people into the PDAF mess and making President Noynoy Aquino look like he is shielding them.
That takes away some sting from the use by administration bets in 2016 of the PDAF scam against opposition stalwarts now facing charges because of it. Tainting the administration’s image nullifies its use of the PDAF scam as issue in the campaign.
The goal being to have a presidential candidate friendly with the plunderers win the 2016 elections. Because history has shown that, in this country, politicians and other personalities accused of sordid crimes can get away with what they did if they control Malacañang.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 16, 2014.