The Neglected Root
Of the PDAF Anomaly
By Apolinario Villalobos
The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Ombudsman, and other investigating agencies are all out in their effort to dig into the matter of PDAF anomaly (again). In particular, they are trying to pin down the politicians and the supposedly “queen” of the anomaly, Janet Lim Napoles. Sad to say, they seem to be just nipping at the buds, instead of going to the roots. There are questions that need to be answered as to how all these things happened in the first place. What department is in charge or authorized for budget releases? What department is supposed to do all the careful checking to insure that all papers are in order, being the final authority? And, most importantly, what department knows the details to the last and most minute, as to how the funds are to be handled. In the very beginning of the investigation, all observers have already doubted the “expertise” and “knowledge” of Napoles on the technical aspects of the process. Unfortunately, when prominent political names were mentioned, investigators concentrated on them, especially, as the two have political ambitions set for the 2016 elections while the third is a staunch enemy of a “powerful” politician.
Except for the blame thrown to the Xerox guys at DBM who made duplicate copies of the unsigned documents so that fake documents can be fabricated, nothing else has been done. Observers again asked, how could these simple clerks know about the process if they have not “observed” some things going on in the office or even “given instructions” on what to do with documents involved in the process? A simple analysis will tell us that all other departments and the people behind the anomaly will not know what to do, unless they are given instructions on how to skirt the policies on budget management. Obviously, the investigators failed to use technicalities in the investigation. The sad result would be that, even if there is “conviction” which is a quixotic wish, mishandling of the fund will go on because the real brains are still out there.
The Department of Justice, in its effort to get Napoles as a state witness, is making moves to enhance the summary of reports that have been finalized. These developments would need another round of hearings. But this will definitely create a problem, especially on the case of Napoles because during several Senate hearings, she was firm with her statements that she had no transactions with the Senators involved, and these statements were made under oath. To explain her stammering during the Senate hearings, her lawyer said that she lost courage to speak because some of those in the room have been involved. To further justify her effort to “tell all”, her lawyer said that she felt lost because the lady lawyer whom she was banking on was no longer around, until she thought of approaching former senator Lacson, to whom her husband gave a long list of involved government officials and politicians, the same list that she gave to de Lima who insists that she be given a chance. The original whistle blowers, however, are thinking otherwise. She will practically bungle all the coherent statements that they already gave. A single inconsistency in the collated evidences shall weaken their position in the case.
All concerned sectors are clamoring that de Lima should bring out the list immediately as it might be “sanitized” or cleaned of officials and politicians identified with the government. In the meantime, perhaps, those involved are happy because they are witnessing a “circus” in the handling of the case which as predicted will take years to resolve. One even would just smile, for in his mind, the on-goings are nothing compared to what he survived “through” the past administrations, including that of the Martial Law.
The well-informed cannot help but ask what will happen to a country….where agencies don’t seem to know where their responsibilities begin and end due to the seemingly absence of an inter-agency coordinative system …where energy in running the government machinery is fuelled by publicity…where press conferences precede official and if need be, discreet implementation of decisions…where some police vehicles have no budget for regular fuel…where projects are neglected after photo opportunities…where agencies publicize their own version of real happenings in the market contrary to what are happening, i.e., consistent soaring of prices of prime commodities…where agency heads do “surprise” checks of concerned areas such as public markets with TV cameras, reporters and squads of personnel in tow…where drug raids are done without netting the real perpetrators or drug lords despite months of surveillance…where some confiscated drugs see their way to the streets, repacked and retailed…where rallyists do their thing in front of the US Embassy instead of the Chinese embassy to show their support in the dispute about West Philippine Sea…where the land (black sand) is literally hauled out of the country by shiploads to China…where native fishermen are chased out of their fishing domain by intruding coast guards of another country.
The above are just a “very few” of the observations by concerned parties that this writer echoes. The most important observation, however, is that despite all those, the resilience of the Filipinos, a proud race of Asia, made them able to survive natural and man-made onslaughts into their properties and lives. And, that despite predicaments, they can still afford to smile…reason why I am proud, myself, being a Filipino.