Jojo A. Robles

Making up lists

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Everybody and his head executive assistant, it seems, is hell-bent on playing Santa Claus in the heat of May. You know, making up lists of the naughty and the nice.

 

Except that nobody seems to be happy about the names found in all the lists provided by various sources, including several news outlets, a former senator with a new job that should be taking up all of his time and almost everyone else save for that congressman who once said he got a sheaf of papers from a spectral “little lady.” Even President Noynoy Aquino admits to having seen at least three lists of officials and lawmakers linked to the pork barrel scam allegedly ran by Janet Lim Napoles, although the President showed unusual and extraordinary sense when he refused to divulge a list of his own.

One thing should be clear: The sudden proliferation of lists of pork barrel racket perpetrators is a direct result of the refusal of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to reveal the one supposedly given to her by Napoles herself three weeks ago, when Ma’am Jenny supposedly got spooked by impending surgery and wanted to come clean in an affidavit.

If De Lima had not insisted on acting like the official censor of Napoles’ affidavit, shuttling it back and forth to her boss Aquino for “vetting and verification” and back again to the prime scam suspect, cutting and pasting and editing along the way, none of this would have happened. If the entire Aquino administration, never shy of linking people to the scam before as long as they were not political allies, did not treat Napoles’ statement as some sort of national security threat - hell, if Aquino and his people simply took it as Napoles’ statement, not the government’s official position - Panfilo Lacson, Sandra Cam and all the other supposed list-bearers would never have come out of the woodwork.

Ultimately, the various lists that now include some of the most prominent administration officials and political allies merely confirm the long-held belief that the only reason for the non-disclosure was to protect the administration’s own. So much for the Malacañang propaganda line that the people should focus on the three senators who have been charged with plundering the pork funds - what the administration really wanted was to divert people’s attention away from others who were at least as guilty, but who have, through the palace’s efforts at misdirection, remained heretofore unidentified.

I’m not saying that Napoles’ list is gospel. At best, it is merely her own version of events, given with a view to saving her own skin, perhaps by turning state witness.

As evidence, Napoles’ affidavit has little value unless it is confirmed - not by De Lima, but by a competent court. Right now, when it remains unsigned (according to the justice secretary, anyway), it is worth next to nothing.

But because Aquino, De Lima and whichever palace flunky advised that the justice secretary should sit on Napoles’ original statement and list (while announcing that they had been given during a supposed “secret” meeting, mind you) are all to blame for the current mess. For once, they can’t blame Gloria Arroyo, the Chinese, the weather or any other outside agency.

As for Congress, it is now reaping the whirlwind for acting like an extension of Malacañang in return for receiving the tainted funds that this and all other previous administrations that traded in pork offered. Under this dispensation, in particular, which vowed to tread the straight path, both Houses are suffering from the lashes of karmic justice, for convicting former Chief Justice Renato Corona and doing whatever else that Aquino asked them in the name of righteousness, while receiving millions for their painstaking journey on matuwid na daan on the side.

As for the rest of us, let’s not allow Malacañang’s omnipresent media spinners to turn the Napoles saga into a quest for justice spearheaded by Aquino and his straight-path minions. The lid was blown off of the scandal when Benhur Luy and his other poorly-paid fellow toilers in Napoles’ fertile fields of pork revolted and wanted in on the lucrative action themselves - the government had nothing to do with it all except to try to cover it up for as long as it possibly could, for its own self-preservation.

* * *

Possibly the biggest (in more ways than one) Senate ally of Malacañang has repeatedly denied getting any recycled pork in his pockets from Napoles, or even knowing the woman. And guess what, none of the lists now in circulation actually show his name.

This great big omission in practically all of the so-called “Napo-lists” is the reason why I personally cannot believe that a sanitation team has not gone through them beforehand. Why, this senator is believed to be so close to Napoles that his wife never leaves the country without the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.

It’s easy enough to find out if the closeness of this senator and his wife to Napoles is fact or fiction: any investigation can merely dig up the passports and other travel documents of Ma’am Jenny and and the lawmaker’s wife and compare them.

 

That side-by-side comparison could be as explosive as any list of Napoles’ clients, I’m told. So how about it?

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