Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When will Napoles’ touted tell-all sworn statement be released to public, or will it suffer same fate as the 2007-2009 COA report that singled out only three opposition senators? Since there was no witness to her marathon “confession” except for her lawyer (was he sent out by DOJ Chief at critical part?) how would public know if De Lima edited portions? Why the special treatment of Napoles until now? Is it because she was heavy contributor to LP campaign kitty for 2010 and 2013?

“Jinggoy smells something fishy,” says a lead story in Philippine Star today. Indeed Sen. Estrada has every right to assert that there’s something fishy about the conduct of the DOJ Secretary and her allied agencies. The problem is that Leila de Lima does not bother to make her actuations appear right and correct;  this comes out glaringly in recent developments regarding alleged scam mastermind Janet Napoles. 

In this regard, De Lima reflects the arrogance of the administration that she serves hand and foot. In so many issues it has demonstrated that it is not  bothered by public opinion, obviously super-confident that it holds sway over many in media and so-called opinion surveys, as well as over the leaders of both chambers of Congress who are singularly supine to President Aquino.


De Lima admitted that she met with Napoles at her tightly-guarded hospital room at Ospital ng Makati last Monday night, just before she was scheduled to undergo uterine surgery; their meeting lasted five hours, witnessed only by the detainee’s lawyer.  Afterwards De Lima grandly told media that she was able to extract a “tell-all” sworn statement from Napoles where the latter decided, kuno, to reveal everything she knows---in order to buttress the state’s cases against the politicos allegedly involved in the PDAF scams linked to Napoles.

But couldn’t De Lima have made her story more credible by ensuring that there's another witness to that marathon meeting, other than Napoles’ lawyer? To be sure, there's supposed to be a video of the meeting, but we know things can happen to such gadgets. Because there was no other witness, there is JUSTIFIABLY GRAVE SUSPICION that parts of the scam lady’s testimony were edited out---erased---perhaps in exchange for concessions, e, g., that Napoles would be admitted as state witness and her husband, children and brother would not be bothered by the law.


For instance, was it true, as reports have it, that the part alleging that De Lima’s former husband, Atty. Plaridel Bohol, received P8 million from PDAF funds was stricken out of Napoles' confession?

This may be a relatively small credibility issue in the scheme of things, but the secrecy hovering over the marathon confession of Napoles raises more questions. Did she really decide to “tell all” finally after a “deny all” appearance at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing months back, or was her true confession, as Jinggoy Estrada put it, only channeled toward how to nail down more firmly himself and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla---in order to lock them up behind bars for good?

Media accounts indicate that supposedly 19 other senators and several dozen members of the House of Representatives are in Napoles’ “tell-all” list. If this is true, presumably, even staunch allies of President Aquino will be implicated inasmuch as practically the entire Senate appears involved. But will Napoles’ supposed tell-all tale be released soon, or will it suffer the same fate as the COA report that until now has released only the 2007-2009 PDAF picture ---isolating the three opposition senators in guilt?


Questions and more questions: if it was truly a “tell-all” confession, did Napoles tell De Lima about her whopping contributions to the LP campaign kitty in 2010 and 2013? There are persistent rumors that Napoles contributed P200 million to candidate Noynoy Aquino’s campaign in 2010---which Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP senatorial candidate in 2010 and then LP campaign manager in 2013, now professes not to know anything about. His excuse then was that it was not his job as campaign manager to raise funds!

There’s no estimate of her contributions to 2013, but it must have as whopping.

Recall how denials rained on the public from ranking LP leaders about knowing Napoles. when a huge campaign banner across the LP stage in a Pampanga rally clearly welcomed her in bold letters. Recall too, how President Aquino said, after photos of him with Napoles came out in social media, that it was no big deal---for many folks do want to be photographed with him.

But if this whopping P200 million contribution from the polluted source of Napoles' scams is true, then the “daang matuwid” of the President was off to a bad start, a joke on the people---with no moral claim to speak of AT ALL. 


Was Napoles coached by De Lima in the 5-hour marathon session on what to say about her singular closeness to the LP bigwigs---which is to deny deny deny? Was her denial in exchange for turning state witness? But allowing Napoles to turn state witness won't be acceptable to the Filipino public---for as the main polluter of the politicos, how can she be allowed to rat on guilty senators? . 

L'affaire Janet is perhaps the most sensitive issue to bedevil the administration and it makes the Vitangcol-MRT issue pale in comparison. In the Napoles scams funds from the taxpayers---blood money fleeced from the corpus of the people by greedy politicians of various hues, not least of all the administration pols. 


Something as sensational as this issue could topple regimes--- which is why M’am Janet is being handled all along, not just with kid gloves but with sheer love by De Lima. Compare her treatment with the terrible roughing up that the seriously sick 67-year old Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is being subjected to---denying her bail when all of her co-accused are already out on bail, or when the last of the charges against her---that she finagled with public funds of PCSO---has since collapsed after a witness testified of no direct knowledge about it and COA itself said all amounts involved are accounted for.

Or the way Ombudsman ConchitaCarpio Morales has treated her former colleague, Chief Justice Renato Corona---slapping him left and right with 28 COUNTS involving alleged tax evasion, misdeclaration, perjury, etc. etc., but no proof ever offered that his funds, the fruits of 42 years of mainly private service. were ever ill-gotten. The huge lawyers’ fees and tons of paper alone needed by Corona to answer those Ombudsman’s charges already boggle the mind. 

Truly, Napoles is being coddled and the reasons are obvious.

Contrast all these to the way M’am Janet has been treated and it sets one thinking---clearly, when it's one of their own, this administration treads easy. Ma'am Janet is clearly one of them. 

1 comment:

  1. DOJ/De Lima recruiting Janet Napoles to state witness stirs my emotion to anger. Since when the most probably guilty part of a collective crime eligible? Are we that gullible?