The country was burglarized

Joseph Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos and Janet Napoles

Joseph Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos and Janet Napoles

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

The ‘war’ is not new. Years ago, when it came about in 1986, it was called the people’s protest. So effective was it! A regime ended. Its head and immediate members of his family and those who were forced to exit, left the country in great haste. Hence, it did look as though the will of the people was carried.

When a president had to be removed from office in the nineties, people power moved again. He was deposed. He was convicted of plunder. He had to be incarcerated. But his successor gave him a blanket acquittal through presidential pardon. The latter pushed him to run for the presidency once more. He lost. Another move through a vacancy in the City of Manila went through. That same former president was elected. What is the message from the voters of Manila?

What decision took place on the scene for the Manila voter to cast that vote for a candidate who was declared ‘unfit’ to continue his presidency when he started to ‘reign?’

Did the electorate of the nation’s most populous city forget that the one who was declared ‘Mayor’ was absolved? He had to change his residence conveniently to allow him to run for the position of mayor. Was there any objection to that step? It seemed the Manila voter just went for that candidate hook, line and sinker.

What ever happened to the memory of the Manila electorate?

Now that there is indeed more emphasis on the war on corruption, will that war win?

There are tremendous exponents of the infamous war on corruption that didn’t just emerge lately. One doesn’t have to enumerate all the protagonists. That list is long. The people know who they are. They have grabbed the headlines since they thought the
sole way to get rich was to run for elective office, not to exclude the power craved. There’s the irony of it all. They are still there.

Janet Napoles, the principal agent identified as the very person who assisted in ‘amassing’ wealth for that lengthy list of recipients is now ‘behind bars.’
As identified as the suspect in the P10-billion scam of scams, Napoles did surrender.

Yet, there are ‘stories’ now churned about that surrender. Full of enigmas. Full of speculations. But the truth is there. She is not free to roam around. She did not seek to flee away from the geographical boundaries of the country that require explanations on her own version of ‘absolute happenings’ the way they occurred. No concoctions, please. The truth has to surface.

“Now or never” is the call. It is the people’s right to know. The country was burglarized. Of millions. Of billions. Of public funds meant to ameliorate the lives of the average Filipino. Those who must be brought to justice cannot hide, whether they are lawmakers or not. They cannot serve on committees meant to investigate alleged wrong.

Will President Aquino turn a blind eye to the sight: no, it cannot be used to get what the executive department wishes to receive from Congress. Wouldn’t that be compromising the legislature?

The three branches of government should be on equal footing with respect to the people’s funds. Accountability and transparency must accompany all kinds of investigation.

Again, nobody should be above the law. The people have seen that the war against ‘pork’ is reality.

Whether the ordinary citizen wishes to ignore ‘pork,’ the way it has come to view, is not what it is. That war is not new. It is so entrenched. It shows what corruption is all about. The tribe that encouraged Napoles didn’t just embark on its mission overnight.

First and foremost, the media traced the origins of the likes of Napoles: they are in Congress, ditto other branches of government where agencies seem to have gone on and on, existed without limits; another source of the corruption: budgets allocated for projects are described as ‘bloated.’ If ever their outcome will be brought to light, those ‘finished’
projects have been identified: ‘inferior.’ How this state of existence has ever come to pass did pass because supervisors allowed their perpetuation. Massive corruption ensued.

The election of a new president, scion of a couple who fought against corruption did not solve the problem.

Only three more years in office for the incumbent! Can he use that balance to fight what has been deadly? Were he to work for crucial decisions to stamp out corruption, although what might be an outcome, will wipe out his deeply entrenched friendships, will he be daring enough to discount those ties?

Or, will the war on corruption be meaningless? Will the people remain powerless?

red line

One Comment

  1. RobDH wrote:

    You left some very culpable persons off your list that went along with Joseph Estrada ; specifically the rest of the “Dirty Dozen”, et al.

    Wigberto “Bobby” Tanada
    Teofisto Guingona
    Victor Ziga
    Ernesto Maceda
    Jovito Salonga
    Agapito “Butz” Aquino
    Juan Ponce Enrile
    Sotero Laurel
    Orlando Mercado
    Aquilino Pimentel Jr
    Rene Saguisag
    María Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino
    Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III

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