Thursday, 2nd October 2014

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September 21, 2013 12:36 AM

By: Artchil B. Fernandez

POGI, Sexy and Tanda, these are the code names of the three senators, according to the whistleblowers, who are now charged with plunder, malversation of public funds and graft practices before Office of the Ombudsman.

Pogi is Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Sexy is no other than Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Tanda is the wily Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

 

They are among the 38 persons charged in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles.

According to the charge sheet, the three senators pocketed 581 million pesos in kickbacks.  Revilla is to have received the biggest amount, P224.5 million followed by Estrada with P183.8 million and Enrile, P172.8 million.

The three dismissed the accusations as political persecution.  This is the usual alibi of those caught with their hands in the cookie jar, or the national coffers.

Revilla quickly connected the filling of the plunder and graft cases against him to the 2016 presidential election.  It is pure demolition job, he cried.  He is being groomed by his party, Lakas-NUCD of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) who is also facing plunder charges.  Truly, birds of the same feathers flock together.

It is so presumptive of Revilla to consider himself a leading candidate in 2016 that he is being cut down this early. It is pure fantasy for Revilla to conclude that there is a widespread support to his candidacy that he is being eliminated by the administration.

Even without the plunder charges, Revilla is no threat to his opponents, thus there is no need to liquidate him politically.  He has a lethargic and pathetic credentials and his performance in the Senate is so wanting and forgettable.  Add to this Revilla’s association with GMA and his presidential ambition is doomed before it can take off.  There is no need to demolish him, for there is nothing to demolish on the first place.

It is safe to assume that Revilla, with the help of Napoles is raising fund for his presidential bid.  Billions of pesos are needed to run for president and it is possible Revilla looked into his pork barrel, P200 million a year as a major source to finance his presidential campaign.  His trouble is that the scam was exposed early thus cutting off his money supply and ruining his presidential dream.

Sexy or Jinggoy Estrada is no stranger to plunder.  He was accused with his father, convicted plunderer Joseph “Erap” Estrada of the crime after EDSA II ousted the incompetent and corrupt Estrada administration in 2001.  One would have assumed that incarceration would have chastised the younger Estrada and that he learned from that ordeal.

No road to Damascus experience or conversion had taken place and most likely the incident emboldened Sexy to repeat the same mistake.  After all, his father after being found guilty of the crime of plunder was immediately pardoned by GMA, thus escaping punishment.  Maybe he thought he will be given the same treatment if caught thus his affair with Janet Lim-Napoles and her bogus Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

Juan Ponce Enrile or Tanda cuts a tragic figure, confused on which side of history he should place himself.  He cast himself on the side of the villains when he agreed to be the chief architect of martial law of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.  At the twilight of the Marcos dictatorship, Enrile redeemed himself when he staged a coup against Marcos and was saved from annihilation at the neck of time by People Power.

His stay on the right side of history was brief.  He returned to the fold of the dark side when he undermined the fledgling democracy through several coups against the administration of Cory Aquino.  In the succeeding administrations, Enrile remained on the wrong side, standing with the disgraced Erap Estrada on the Second Power Revolt and suckling at the bosom of corrupt and abusive regime of GMA.

Enrile crossed over to the right side when he presided with brilliant and sterling performance the impeachment trial of Renato Corona, GMA’s midnight chief justice.  The impeachment trial gave Enrile the chance to rehabilitate himself for the last time.  But the golden opportunity was wasted with his ugly and dirty quarrel with fellow senators on the distribution of Christmas bonus.

The involvement of Enrile with Janet Lim-Napoles in the pork barrel scam sealed his fate, condemning him to the wrong side of history perhaps for good.  Enrile should have ended his long and colorful public career with a loud applause and not in ignominy with the pork barrel scam.

Putting the sole blame on his former chief of staff, Gigi Reyes on the scam only made things worse for Enrile.  The public won’t accept such lame excuse.  Reyes is a trusted aide of Enrile and had been called the “24th senator” indicating her power and influence.  That she dealt with the fake NGOs of Napoles on her own as Enrile’s lawyer declared is difficult to accept much more believe.  Reyes had fled abroad so Enrile might legally wiggle his way out of the mess but he cannot escape the verdict of history and the judgment of the Filipino people.

As the trial of Pogi, Sexy and Tanda unravels, the public must remain vigilant.  These powerful persons are old hands in scandals particularly graft and corruption.  This time, they must not be allowed to escape from the law.  On trial here are only those involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam but the judicial system of the country.

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