SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: The President as escort

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 September) – At this point in her life, alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles poses a dilemma. She looks too bad to be given any space in this world. At the same time she knows too much about the anomalous transactions involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) one would wish she lives long enough to reveal it all.

But is this what President Beningo S. Aquino III and other officials had in mind in relation to the events that followed her supposed surrender? Regardless of Malacanang’s motives in giving what appears to be special treatment for an accused, its actions have blown in its face.

We can give the President the benefit of a doubt that he was really concerned over Napoles’ safety he had to personally inspect the arrangements being made at Camp Crame where she was first detained. But concern doesn’t have to be accompanied by indiscretion. Whoever advised him into going to the extent of escorting a suspected kidnapper and scam mastermind to her prison cell needs to undergo the ancient practice of trephination.

Given the far-reaching political repercussions of the pork barrel controversy not only on the officials involved but also on the administration as a whole, Aquino should have observed more than the required amount of prudence. When he took that ride to Camp Crame he was not simply escorting an accused who feared for her life; he was escorting somebody whose name has been linked to large-scale thievery of public funds orchestrated by our honorable lawmakers and bureaucrats.

For Filipinos mad over the brazen abuse and misuse of taxpayers’ money, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla posing in a photograph with Napoles was suggestive enough. Who then can blame them if they would interpret Aquino’s having sacrificed several minutes of sleep to see to it that she would be comfortable in Camp Crame as part of an unfolding conspiracy to hogwash – pun intended – the pork scam?

Recall how the President tried to appease popular anger by announcing he would abolish the PDAF only to say at the same time that he would find a new system to insert it in the annual budget. Recall too that his State of the Nation Address (Sona) this year did not say anything about the pork barrel scam.

To top it all, there is now a proposal to make Napoles state’s witness in cases that would be filed against officials and perhaps private citizens too who may be involved in the anomalous transactions. I’m not a lawyer to say whether or not the suggestion may be allowed under the Rules of Court. But it’s definitely politically insane, at least at this point in time that the people are still emotional about the issue. They couldn’t care less if it’s legal or not, or if it’s the practical step to do in order to get to the bottom of things and obtain convictions. They would just connect the dots starting from the Sona to his announcement on “abolishing” the pork and to Camp Crame.

Aquino was literally taken for a ride, a short trip that may already have created a huge doubt on the sincerity of his “daang matuwid” slogan. A bumpy road ahead awaits this administration. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])