Seares: Ma’m Janet, meet Ma’m Arlene

MA’M” is polite address for a woman, a title of respect. Calling a woman “ma’m” recognizes higher rank or status.

Not surprising that two villains in the current public conversation about corruption are addressed as “ma’m”: Ma’m Janet, referring to Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind in the pork barrel scandal, and Ma’m Arlene, still not identified but is talked about as Janet’s equivalent in the judiciary, “notorious as a fixer of cases.”

Ma’m Janet allegedly colluded with lawmakers and bureaucrats, using fake NGOs to steal billions of pesos from PDAF and DAP lump sum outlays. Ma’m Arlene, “Philippine Star” columnist Jarius Bondoc wrote in his Oct. 7 column, connives with investigators, prosecutors, and magistrates, mostly in Metro Manila, to rig cases for clients.

While Ma’m Janet was said to own Congress, Ma’m Arlene allegedly owns the judiciary, which tells us the dimensions of the web of corruption each must spin.

Ma’m Janet allegedly gave cuts and bribes from the multibillion-peso pork barrel loot. Ma’m Arlene allegedly gave lavish gifts and parties.

Unexposed

Ma’m Janet is already charged with plunder, along with 37 others, before the Tanodbayan. Ma’m Arlene is still to be ferreted out by Court Administrator Midas Marquez, yes the one who staunchly defended then SC chief justice Renato Corona against charges of corruption (he and the CJ lost).

The two women, who might still have to meet, were called “Ma’m” for their affluence and influence.

u201cMa’m,” coincidentally, is short for “madam,” which, you and I know, also applies to a woman managing a brothel.

[paseares@sunstar.com.ph]

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