Napoles list, Napo-litics and 2016
Ostensibly confronted with the phantom of mortality, Janet Lim Napoles felt the compunction to “confess” to Secretary Leila de Lima the night before a major surgery to remove a tumor in her uterus. The outcome was an affidavit that contained the “Napo-list,” the ultimate blacklist of lawmakers who allegedly profited from the PDAF scam.
The recalcitrant Senate witness who refused to answer any question on the grounds of amnesia and her right against self-incrimination, “sang” for 5 hours and then pleaded to turn state witness. There was no mention of illumination from introspection, nor repentance and atonement. It seemed like she was just negotiating another transaction.
But as of now, it is possible that the infamous “Napo-list” could turn into another con job. Right after the much-ballyhooed hospital-bed “tell-all” – other mystic slates popped up like eerie X-files.
Suddenly Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson claimed that he too had a list, courtesy of Mr. Jaime Napoles, Janet’s husband who was formerly in the military. Not to be outdone, controversial jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam chimed in. She too had a list.
Then before anyone could say PDAF, a little-known broadsheet published the names of 13 former and current senators allegedly involved with Napoles. Indeed enough to make a quorum!
The exact number of Senate PDAF-ees ranged anywhere from 11 to 13 on the low side to 16 to 19 on the high side, depending on whose list is being quoted. And while Secretary Leila de Lima, in true bolshy fashion, keeps mum until she has vetted her roster, for now it’s a free-for-all that threatens to muddy many and sundry.
De Lima is being prudent in making sure that the tell-all is the truth. But while there is a vacuum of credible information, the opportunity to smear and taint as many as possible through innuendo and allusion, is par for the course. Why be outraged at just the 3 indicted seating senators, when their cohorts might have had their hand in the cookie jar too?
Even more calculated and creepy, why not implicate the close allies of PNoy so that through guilt-by-association, his trust ratings would decline and lessen his endorsement power?
Like a coveted obra maestra, the Napo-list spawned counterfeit copies, wannabe owners and unmet desires.
Bong Revilla wants the Senate to force Secretary De Lima to spill the beans. Jinggoy Estrada wants the Supreme Court to stop the filing of his no-bail plunder case in Sandiganbayan. This must be de ja vu for the beleaguered senator.
The other senators want to see if their names are on the list. (They surely know if they dealt with JLP. They want to know if they got caught.) The Filipino people want to see the list of those who stole from them.
Oh, lets not forget that Janet Napoles wants to stay in the Ospital ng Makati indefinitely. Taking the cue from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Department of Agriculture Secretary Jocjoc Bolante, the hospital has become the preferred holding place for those with physical and legal infirmities.
Only Senator Juan Ponce Enrile claims he couldn’t care less.
How far will the “Napoles effect” reach? When will the PDAF scam’s shelf life expire? Will the issue have consequences all the way to the presidential race?
The fearless forecast is that it will. “Napo-litics” can become the lynchpin of the 2016 elections. Depending on who succeeds President Aquino, impunity could well be the defining theme of the next administration.
The scuttlebutt is that if today’s frontrunner, Vice President Jejomar Binay, becomes the 16th president, Enrile and Estrada, his close allies would inevitably go scot-free. The culture of impunity and selective justice would persist. The powerful are not accountable for their misdeeds.
This will once again underscore the iniquity of the great divide. The haves versus the have-nots, the specter of a class war. “Mahirap lang ang nakukulong!” (Only the poor get jailed.) The rich get way with murder.
But there is still a little time left, to make sure that the blacklisted lawbreakers get thwarted from perpetuating themselves. Just as the Comelec is trying to clean up the voters’ list from zombies and flying voters, they should also purge the candidates’ slate from plunderers and criminals. The law banning those found guilty of any crime from ever running for public office should be scrupulously implemented.
Of course that assumes that the judiciary can get its act together and dispense justice fairly and speedily. They too must purge their ranks of corruption and incompetence. But that’s another column.
There’s just us.
In the end, it will be up to the Filipino people. Historically, we have not been consistent in choosing the right leader. In fact, more often than not, it was a choice of the lesser evil.
Our job is cut out for us. We must take on the role of voting the best leaders then keeping them honest. We should demand that public servants do not betray public trust. And if they do, we should be relentless in making sure they are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
No doubt a leader’s responsibility is heavy. But followers have an equal responsibility too. They have the power, but it came from us. And we can take it back.
The bottom line is we get what we deserve. And we deserve better. - Rappler.com