AFTER the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, supposedly for transparency sake, made public contents of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles’s affidavits and whistle-blower Benhur Luys’ digital files, the public has gotten a deluge of information on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. So where should we go from here?
But first about the deluge of information on the scam. It now looks like different sectors are picking different aspects of the information and are interpreting each of these differently. Which reminds me of John Godfrey Saxe’s poem “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”
You probably know the story already.
Six men of Indostan went to see the elephant (though all of them were blind). The first man fell against its “broad and sturdy side” and said the elephant was like a wall. The second felt the tusk and thought the elephant was like a spear.
The third took the “squirming trunk” and said that the elephant was like a snake. The fourth felt the knee and exclaimed that the elephant was like a tree. The fifth touched the ear and noted that the elephant was like a fan. Finally, the sixth man seized the tail and said the elephant was like a rope.
The six men of Indostan couldn’t see the whole elephant, so their perception of what the creature was could only be subjective or one-sided.
That’s what seems to be happening to those who are currently trying to interpret the data on the PDAF scam released by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to the media, which in turn relayed these to the public. Blinded by their biases, political beliefs or ideological leanings, they could only choose the portion to focus on and use thee to advance their causes.
Supporters of the administration of President Noynoy Aquino are zeroing in only on the personalities in the lists and information provided by Napoles and Luy that target the political opposition. The opposition, meanwhile, is focusing on personalities of the Aquino administration.
Militants are popularizing information that makes the Aquino administration look bad and on personalities in the Napoles and Luy lists that are identified with PNoy. They are downplaying the participation in the PDAF scam of opposition politicians who are their allies.
What I am saying is that we now have a cacophony that is grating to the ears. I am hoping, though, that this is but a part of the process of understanding and that the noise will eventually give way to a sober appraisal and understanding of the new information.
I don’t really know how the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee could bring us out of this mess. But its hearings can clarify a few matters, especially in assessing the truthfulness of the accusations against those in the Napoles and Luy lists. But doing so could derail the real function of the Senate, which is to make laws.
I think the sorting out can best be done by either the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Office of the Ombudsman. The DOJ has started it with the filing of cases against politicians linked to the scam from the period 2007 to 2009, specifically Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.
I think the DOJ is proceeding to the next phase, which is to look into the veracity of Napoles’s affidavits, which includes the list of politicians she dealt with in perpetrating the scam. I hope DOJ can fast-track the process so new batches of cases can be filed with the Office of the Ombudsman.
As for the rest of us, we can stand back and wait until a better picture of what is happening will come out. Rushing to judgment and making wild accusations would be counter-productive.