Senate ‘telenovela

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Friday, May 16, 2014


I REMEMBER this quote from way back; it’s one I tried “googling” but couldn’t locate.

That’s probably because the quote is not popular and was cobbled up by a master of homespun writing whose prose the West has tried to ignore: Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary leader and an idol in my youth.

Because I couldn’t “google” the quote, I couldn’t be precise. What I can recall is that the writer likened a revolution, or its effect, to rising water slamming onto a dam, overflowing it before finally settling to its level.

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Indeed, things eventually settle down after the initial rush.

That’s a lesson I would apply to the current furor over the multiple “lists” supposedly originating from the central figure in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, Janet Lim-Napoles. Things will calm down as additional pieces of evidence are gathered.

The surfacing of the lists sparked confusion mainly because each of these differed in the number of former lawmakers alleged to have pocketed a chunk of their PDAF allocations.

Some of those we thought should have been in the lists weren’t there; the others we thought shouldn’t be there were. Then we have the utter lack of detail: how much was pocketed, where are the supporting documents. This prompted some to describe these as mere laundry lists.

So what part of these was true, what part was false? Who among the personalities listed are culpable, who of them are innocent? Should all of those named be considered as grafters or plunderers?

Those questions will eventually be answered. Ironically, that clarification will have to come from Napoles, the supposed originator of the “lists.” Will she complete her “tell-all”? And will she be honest?

The other part will come from concerned government agencies. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are evaluating Napoles’s testimony and “vetting” her list. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is set to resume the conduct of hearings.

Things will be clarified. And the water will settle to its level.

***

“Pointless ang isang listahan na walang narrative.”

That was how de Lima explained her hesitance to submit the list that was signed by Napoles to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, took the list anyway and gave de Lima a week to submit the supporting narrative, or affidavits.

The committee is also asking for the digital file of whistle-blower Benhur Luy, whose contents the DOJ used in investigating the multi-billion-peso PDAF scam last year. The contents of the file have been published piecemeal by a Manila newspaper.

Now, the ball is in the Senate’s court, sort of. It will have to re-open the investigation on the scam that it closed several weeks ago. It will have to conduct hearings once more, this time with Napoles as its main “resource person.”

This is an interesting development because many senators are in the Napoles list. Some of them will surely be there to subject Napoles to intense grilling. The public will also be given a chance to see Napoles’s demeanor during the hearings. Will she not buckle down?

Napoles and Luy were both resource persons in previous Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings. But the circumstances then were different. Napoles clammed up in those hearings. She has promised to “tell all” now. Will there be a clash of testimonies?

A telenovela is set to be shown in the Senate. Atangi.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2014.

Opinion

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