Thursday, April 24, 2014

PNoy’s GPS (Grand Prosecution of the Sleazy) is also GPS (Guiding Path to be Straight

My barber is elated about the latest development on the Pork Barrel Scam.  He heard about Janet Napoles, the suspected architect of the scam meeting with Justice Secretary de Lima swearing to tell all that she knows.

In fact, the meeting was held at the Ospital Ng Makati before her scheduled surgery.  She signed an affidavit declaring everything she knows about the pork barrel scheme.  Aside from the usual suspects Senators Enrile, Revilla, and Estrada, she supposedly implicated over a hundred government officials from the present and previous administrations.

Former Senator Ping Lacson who refused using his pork barrel allocation during his days as a legislator, was provided a copy of the list by the Napoles family.  According to Ping Lacson who is also the current rehabilitation czar, the list includes at least 13 current and previous senators, many congressmen and even Cabinet-level officials.

He added, “The participation of officials implicated by Napoles was not necessarily in the form of receipt of kickbacks and commissions but in the transaction that made up the entire scam.”
Janet Napoles and Former Sen. Ping Lacson

I told my barber that this means that some of them may be not be charged as principals or co-conspirators but as accomplices, accessories or even innocent participants.

As PNoy said, “Follow the evidence.” After all, government funds were used, misused, and abused by certain government officials.

Justice Secretary de Lima is having the sworn statement of Janet Napoles evaluated to determine its veracity. It is also being checked on how it corroborates the existing evidence that had been gathered by the NBI and Department of Justice coming from the whistleblowers and other sources.

Napoles applied to be a State Witness. The evaluation will be submitted to the Ombudsman who will make the final recommendation to the Sandiganbayan.

Should Janet Napoles be made a State Witness?

I answered this question from my barber in a previous article: (

“I told my barber that my preference is for Napoles not to be made a State Witness if it could be helped – meaning that the Ombudsman is prudentially certain that, even without Napoles’ cooperation, she would be able to successfully prosecute and convict all the public officials and private parties who allegedly committed Plunder.  
I further said that Napoles’ acts, as a shrewd businesswoman who has been taking advantage of the Pork Barrel system and the corrupt minds of the legislators, deserves to be punished for her criminal acts.

But I am not averse to making Napoles a State Witness.  This is especially true if it is determined that this would guarantee the conviction of certain arrogant public officials who have consistently abused their power and exercised that “Wang Wang” mentality and culture of impunity to go with culture of corruption.

May Napoles qualify as a State Witness?  I contend that if Ombudsman Morales chooses to do it, Napoles could be one.

First of all, she is not as “Big” a Fish as any of the Senators, Congressmen, and other public officials from implementing agencies who could be prosecuted and convicted with the help of the testimonial, documentary, and other relevant evidence that she will provide.  State Witnesses are used precisely to go after the “Big Fish”.

Secondly, Napoles does not appear to be the “most guilty” as envisioned by the anti-graft, anti-corruption, and plunder law. The law is primarily directed to prosecute corrupt public officers and others who participate in the commission of the crime by the said public officers.

A Senator or a Congressman who is suspected of Plunder is a public officer entrusted by the electorate with the responsibility of safeguarding and protecting public funds.  He is empowered under the Pork Barrel system to appropriate funds to satisfy some identified needs of his constituency.  Misappropriating such funds for self-aggrandizement at the expense of a trusting electorate numbering millions is an offense of the highest order punishable by life imprisonment.

The principal power of discretion and judgment is with the Senator or Congressman. Correspondingly, the ultimate responsibility is with him.  In the crime of Plunder, he is the principal suspect with private parties like Napoles as willing participants and beneficiaries.  

Napoles could not have been the “most guilty”.  While she was an effective and efficient executor of the legislator’s greedy wish to misappropriate public funds, she was not indispensable.  As cited by COA and as reported by GMA Research News, she was not the only person who was used by the legislators to implement such a scheme.   There were others involving more lawmakers, fake NGOs, and probably more money.  It is just that her operation was the first to be exposed because of whistleblowers that included a relative who accused her of serious illegal detention. “

The goal is to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Janet Napoles has to tell ALL.  She should not exempt anybody who participated in the scams (Pork Barrel and Malampaya).  Each accused will have the opportunity to counter her version of the truth. The judicial system has procedures to determine and filter the truth.

What are the consequences for the accused public officials?

I also answered this question in the previous article:

“Plunder charges against them will have the following legal effects:

1.    They will be arrested and detained without bail as the trial proceeds; and
2.   They will also be suspended from office.

Upon final conviction,

1     The penalty shall be life imprisonment;
2.      Any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stock derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State; and
3.All retirement or gratuity benefits will be lost.”

Indeed, PNoy’s GPS (Grand Prosecution of the Sleazy) is also GPS (Guiding Path to be Straight)!

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