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janet_lim_napoles_on_the_runJanet Lim Napoles is now on the run. That makes her the perfect fall guy for the P10-billion “pork barrel scam” that is rocking the Philippines’ political establishment. A high-profile fugitive attracts all the attention and, not necessarily living up to the principle of scientific criminal investigation, all law enforcement resources. Never mind that the pork barrel “scam” is a product of a systemic issue of which Napoles (if the allegations are true) is but one cog in a vast kleptocratic clockwork, The deeply-institutionalised thievery that is Philippine-style pork barrel politics has the following key components in its gravy train:

The President of the Philippines – who formulates the National Budget and consistently includes the pork barrel as a significant chunk of it year in and year out.

Philippine Congress – the state body that, amazingly, approves the National Budget, a big chunk of which involves the very funds that end up in its members’ secret bank accounts.

The Philippines’ financial system – a black-box conduit for mob funds that is hopelessly convoluted by archaic secrecy laws, lax and corrupt regulatory bodies, and tight family ties (many with links to the very law enforcement offices currently “investigating” this case) that greases the cogs.

Where does Napoles fit in the above?

Whatever the answer to that question is does not really matter. She is all but one item in what should be a long list of persons of interest in this case — perhaps one that includes bank executives, NGO managers and sponsors, senators and House representatives, and last but certainly not the least, President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III himself. The latter is where the buck stops as the old cliche goes. BS Aquino, after all, is the man who submits the National Budget proposal and, as such, is the ultimate originator of the pork barrel allocations to begin with. This is the very same man who back in 2010 prematurely trumpeted his place in history as the country’s unprecedented Corruption Killer. Midway through his term, one can say that President BS Aquino is certainly living up to his two-letter initials.

Either way Napoles is screwed. Her now being a fugitive makes her guilty as sin in the Court of Public Opinion. But if she had willingly submitted to the Philippines’ criminal justice system’s “due process” (a proven oxymoron in the Philippines looking back the last couple of years) she would’ve simply gotten a fair trial followed by a fair hanging. The very way with which the Department of Justice exhibited its goal to “arrest” Napoles is, itself, suspect. Why, after all, did a big fanfare-surrounded announcement of the issuance of this arrest warrant have to be made? It is hardly surprising under this light that Napoles had the time to make arrangements for her quick escape.

This is a country after all where crooks rely on family ties and the Philippines’ traditional feudal social infrastructure to remain above the law. Unfortunately, Filipinos’ small-minded approaches to “rooting out” corruption is hardly one that involves a systematic effort. It is based more on personalities — smear campaigns, publicity stunts, media placements, and good old-fashioned demagoguery to distract a famously daft Filipino public from the system of crime itself and focus, instead, on an arbitrary strawman. Unfortunately for Napoles, she is the Strawman of the Month.

Of course, this cat-and-mouse telenovela currently gripping the nation’s finest minds will not be complete without casting the Top Cat — Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima who is now in her moment. Tough luck for the country’s top copper. She has a boss who has his hands tied by family ties as her speckled record of trying to get her boss to walk the walk shows….

We were impressed at how [de Lima] pushed the administration to get to the bottom of how a fugitive senator was able to flee the country and then return with no known records whatsoever.

She also handled well the investigation into who really was to blame for the botched rescue operations during the Luneta hostage crisis three years ago. Her report was swift and unequivocal: several officials were in breach of their mandate, and they had to be made accountable.

Unfortunately, her boss, President Aquino, rebuffed her recommendations on both occasions. He quickly rekindled his friendship with the senator—the arrest warrant for whom was voided shortly after he resurfaced. There was no more discussion on why and how a lawmaker would even trifle with the legal and law enforcement systems for his personal benefit.

Similarly, the recommendations to sanction some of the President’s allies fell on deaf ears as they were given mere slaps on the wrist.

Is Napoles really the bad guy here? She is, perhaps, in her small way if the allegations are true. But the real BIG BAD GUY here is the person and his minions who have it entirely within their power to put an end to the disbursement of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) — the pork barrel that has become the whole singular point of Congressional politics.

Why is it that all the obvious solutions to Philippine wretchedness are not taken?

It is because Filipinos choose to dance to the tune of the powers-that-be and focus on small fish like Janet Lim Napoles rather than maintain a sniper-like focus on the real crooks that run the country.

benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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59 Comments

  • David Ryan Quimpo says:

    Pork barrel is truly systemic to a structure based on political patronage. We see the inherent limitations of Pinoy’s anti-corruption crusade. It is practically suicidal for a president to give up pork, arguably the main control of Malacanang over congress. Given the anger of the people against the pork barrel system, the various power groups would likely reach a compromise on “regulating pork”. Necessarily the main, immediate and most prominent target would be Janet Lim Napoles.

    Napoles is not small fry. The accumulated cut from pork that she allegedly received from numerous lawmakers, over several years, totals to staggering amounts, aptly described by Sen. Miriam Santiago to be on the scale of plunder.

    Among those who still believe in “daang matuwid”, they may hope that Napoles would bring down with her, her main sponsors — Enrile, Jinggoy, Revilla and Honasan and a number of other members of congress Unfortunately, this would be unlikely. The boat must not rock too much lest it overturns the political system.

    Still demanding the abolition of the pork barrel system and fighting for it, is not an exercise in futility. Let reforms reach as far as possible, and weaken the system of political patronage.

    • bill wedeking says:

      Good points, David. This mess is what we can see and smell. Those who CONTROL the game allow us to see the small P 10 Billion scam, so they can obscure the bigger mess, the P Trillions stolen each year.
      Suspiciously, Lawmakers seem TOO AGREEABLE in giving up the existing “Pork Barrel” System.
      Greedy, corrupt people never change, they just change the game. There is a new scam coming and they want to clear the way for the “NEW GAME”.
      Political Dynasties are always the winners coz they are the only players. The people always lose.
      People must end the Political Dynasties Control. The people can use “Initiative and Referendum” to define and end Political Dynasties. It’s the only way to stop this economic insanity.
      The Lawmakers that oppose the Initiative will reveal themselves as Corrupt and Self Interested.

      • mcalleyboy says:

        Only way to win this game is kick out the Chinese they run the show here…and nobody of Philippine decent would run any branch of this country, change would really take place. The only reason the Chinese have stayed is that N Luzon is predominately Christian if it were all Muslim it would be an even bigger dump, trouble is the Chinese aren’t into infrastructure or human rights and the money they make is for China.

  • the bottom line is this…….voters should be educated about pork barrel,congress,the powers given to senators if elected……ito ang napala ngayun kasi maraming voters ang hindi marunong kumilatis sa iboboto.hayan tangagap ng tanggap ng kaunting inaabut tuwing eleksyon,heto ang resulta……ang nasa poder ay magnanakaw,corrupt at baboy…..ngayun maraming reklamu? ito ang inilagay sa pwesto kaya mag dusa kayu…..kahit na kmi ay nagdurusa din ngayun….ang mga nainvolve ngayun na mga senators ay hindi namin ya binoto…peru wala kaming magawa…….kaunti lang kmi……at the end of the day…dahil sa hindi tamang pagpili ng taong nasa poder….mananatili ang ganyang systema……araw2 ay nanganganak ang buwaya…….talagang kawawa tayung lahat…….

  • my work as a field interviewer before let me exposed to the actual realities of life…..there in the mountains and very depressed areas we encountered people who can not even take paracetamol, when in fact this only cost around 50cents….where are the hearts of these corrupt officials…maawa naman kayu sa mga kababayan natin…….

  • Worried Citizen says:

    We all are aware that stealing from their pork barrel is continuously happening since we can all remember. It is very obvious. We all know how these politicians spends millions of pesos in their campaigns just to make sure they get elected for the position they are running for. For what? Because they want to serve their constituents? Bull SH_ _! We know what is happening but we just let it go. Why? Because we Filipinos are too busy working hard to bring food on our family’s table. We just simply ignore the issue. In reality, what can we do? We are helpless against the system. We only curse these politicians every time we see disasters hit us, like the frequent floods that could have been prevented if only an infrastructure has been funded correctly instead of funds being pocketed. I wish they can hear us every time we do that.

  • Concerned PILIPINO.. says:

    Why Janet Lim Napoles is the perfect fall-guy in the Philippines’ P10-bn pork barrel scam – aminin natin lahat, hindi natin magigiba mga senators at mambabatas- tanong lang, kaya ba natin silang IPAKULONG o FIRING SQUAD? ANG BATAS NG PILIPINAS AT PARA SA MAYAYAMAN AT MAPERA-KUNG PILIPINO KA ALAM MO YAN….

  • RnCastro says:

    Very yes.Plunder is punishable by death but can be pardoned by a plunderer.

  • siomai says:

    If pork barrel is abolished, then what alternative can you suggest?

    • libertas says:

      what a dozy twat.
      try thinking for once

    • WinterSoldier says:

      Nah, the money will be sent to the LGUs. Congress will get it to the National Treasury.

      In fact, you’re such a gullible real-life FOOL who knows NOTHING. More like a zombie.

      Deal with it. :P

  • Sasha says:

    Nakakahiya

  • sarah says:

    Shame. nakakahiya ng sobra. Dapat death penalty ang bagay jan. Ang rami raming taong nagugutom tapos kukuwain mo lng nang ganyan. Kahit sila bumabayad ng buwis at nanay tatay kuya ate lahat kami bumabayad. tapos kala namin sa maayos mapupunta yan. Makagawa ng bahay, infrastructure at iba pa. Pero isang walang kwenta at demon na tao lng ang makikinabang. Sheeeeet. Kill her PLEASE.

  • Jami Montealegre says:

    I see a very big problem here; those in the government; of whatever sector, take care of their own. They may once again just play with us; i.e. humor us with so-called investigations, that will take ages to resolve till we lose interest.

    • mcalleyboy says:

      Excellent point…things take forever to get resolved here I know for sure the follow up will be vague at best and nothing done. There have been at least two foreigner deaths here that I have never heard a follow-up on this year alone. 1 Husband of US consulate stabbed to death by 4 young wealthy men, no follow-up by GMA news they broke this story and it was all over the news earlier this year, I’ve heard nothing. 2. A vet that was leg less and only married to a Philippina for 4 years got his head smashed in while they left him by himself at the house and they went to one of the pool resorts, they had the American man save his money for many months because he was supposed to be a new van the lady and vet stopped having sex 4 months before he was murdered, how convenient also the wife wanted his body cremated immediately there’s no proof and apparently no follow-up by GMA news on this also.

  • Lgcorpuz says:

    The biggest. Financial Terrorist in our homeland. What a SHAME.

  • Anonymous says:

    You are such a commie.

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