Corrupting the corrupt

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

NapolistAt first there was none. Then there was one. Then there were two. Then there were three, four. And then there were five! Who knows there might even be a sixth or a seventh… or an eighth!

What are we talking about here? A black list? A hit list? A shit list? Nope, it’s the “Napolist,” short for the Napoles List, which was supposed to show the names of legislators and other government officials who participated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles. Remember her?

Napoles and P-Noy in happier days

Napoles and P-Noy in happier days

Yep, it has been almost nine months since the celebrated “surrender” of Napoles to President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III. They had a private lunch in Malacañang’s Music Room and late in the night, P-Noy drove her to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters at Camp Crame. Wow! This is a first for a “world class” president to personally drive a criminal to her jailer. Okay, okay, let’s not get distracted here. Let’s get back on track.

Exercise in obfuscation

De Lima confers with P-Noy on the day Napoles surrendered

De Lima confers with P-Noy on the day Napoles surrendered

Napoles purportedly gave the first Napolist to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima when Napoles surrendered last August. Then former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson announced saying that he, too, had a copy of the list that Napoles gave to de Lima. And soon after that, P-Noy claimed that he had received two lists before de Lima got hers. Hmm… are we having a pissing match here like who got the most or longest list?

Recently, Lacson gave his Napolist to Senate Blue Ribbon Chairman Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III who then released it to the public. Not to be outdone, de Lima released her Napolist, which turned out to be identical to Lacson’s. Their lists contain the names of 12 senators, two cabinet officials, and 68 current and former congressmen.

Benhur Luy testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

Benhur Luy testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

But no sooner had Lacson and de Lima released their lists than Benhur Luy, the original whistleblower who “accidentally” exposed the Napoles scam, released his version of Napolist, which contained the names of 15 incumbent senators and 10 former senators.

Sandra Cam

Sandra Cam

Last May 16, Sandra Cam, the president of the Whistleblowers Association, revealed in a radio interview that she, too, had a copy of the Napolist, which includes at least 16 incumbent and former senators, two cabinet secretaries, and 82 incumbent and former congressmen. Cam reportedly got her Napolist from an “unimpeachable” source before the Holy Week.

Kleptocrats

Leading the list of senators on Cam’s list was Senate President Franklin Drilon, who Cam indicated was not on de Lima and Lacson’s lists. She claimed that Drilon tried to silence her through Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary Alex Almario, who she alleged had close ties to Drilon. She also alleged that Drilon was Napoles’ protector in the Senate. Needless to say, Drilon denied all of Cam’s allegations.

Abad confers with P-Noy

Abad confers with P-Noy

But the most damning of Cam’s exposé was her version of Napoles’ affidavit, which alleged that Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Chief Florencio “Butch” Abad, was the “tutor” of the pork barrel scam. It was also alleged that Abad was one of the first clients of Napoles, and the one who taught Napoles how to expand her scam operations. “It was Abad who taught me about the scam operations,” Napoles was quoted as saying.

Another source reportedly said that the code name for Abad was “Straight” because when he got his kickbacks, they went straight to his pockets and straight to a Singapore bank. Abad is also known as the “Pork Barrel King.” The other cabinet secretary that Cam implicated was Department of Agriculture (DA) Chief Proceso Alcala, whom Cam alleged to be one of the big pork barrel beneficiaries. Indeed, many believe that Abad and Alcala were really the ones behind the pork barrel scam. “Abad releases the funds and Alcala executes the projects,” said one of the sources.

Abad, as DBM Chief, had total control of the disbursement of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as pork barrel. Abad was also the architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which is totally under his control and beyond the reach of Congress.

It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court had recently ruled, by a 14-0 vote, that PDAF was unconstitutional while a decision on the constitutionality of DAP has not yet been made. If DAP were deemed constitutional, it would provide P-Noy with unrestricted authority to redirect funds from the national budget to DAP; thus, giving him de facto dictatorial powers in the use of public funds.

What the various versions of Napolist imply is that there is an organized network of corrupt lawmakers and government officials who have been stealing the people’s money, which they were entrusted to use for the benefit of the citizenry. But what all these revelations have done was expose the shenanigans perpetrated at the highest echelon of the government. Indeed, this wholesale plunder has turned the government into a kleptocracy.

“La Cuarta Nostra”

La-Cosa-NostraThis reminds me of the classic Godfather trilogy, which depicts how organized crime in America operates. The hierarchical structure of this criminal family — known as La Cosa Nostra (Our Cause) – was built for the purpose of generating revenue from illegal activities. The head of the organization is the capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses) and there are the capos (bosses) that report to him. Each capo has a consigliere (counselor) that advises the capo, and soldiers at the bottom of the hierarchy.

What is going on in the Philippines is not dissimilar to La Cosa Nostra. Let’s call this organization, La Cuarta Nostra (Our Money). Abad seems to fit the role of a capo and Alcala would be his underboss while Napoles is his consigliere. The soldiers are the senators and congressmen.

But who is the capo di tutti capi of La Cuarta Nostra that is corrupting the corrupt to plunder the country down to its core? Indeed, what could be more evil than stealing from the people? But like all things evil, this kleptocracy would, sooner or later, come to an end. The question is: When?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


17 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Gabriel says:

    Let us remember that no money can be released without the Budget Management consent. The congress merely make and approve the National Budget. The the allocation are distributed to the Departments of the government including the Office of the President, and the branches of the government including those allocated to the Senators and the Congress. Then it is being released by the actual expenses of each head of the Department including the President, Secretaries, Congressmen, Senators and the Justices. Only through the Department of Budget. Then the Commission on Audit examines it if these disbursements were really as per the allocation made and approved by the Congress. The findings were (they disbursed them to bogus NGOs’ or non-existent Companies..which means the people who approved the disbursements got the money themselves and not the people per department who really needs them. This is the main problem. Then here comes the people who said that the Department of Budget did it all. So what shall the people should do… as the real beneficiaries of all these funds.. did not get anything.. and those responsible elected officers who must disburse it properly made a big mockery of the whole System. Its the President who is over-all responsible to this… He must be accountable to the People… if nothing happen he must be remove in office… if he put justice to it.. he must tell the whole thing.. for everybody must be penalized… Hope things are clear to all by this time…

  2. DoN Rudy Lizardo says:

    So, how many state witnesses do we have now? After Obama’s visit we’re back to NAPO-LIST.
    Did you say this CIRCUS is almost 9 months now? Who can wait for 9 more years?
    ALLELLUIA, ALLELLUIA, ALLELLUIA TO ALL OF THEM

  3. Jaime says:

    What is happening in the Philippine Government is in sharp contrast to the Thai Government. In less than a year the corrupt Premier Yingluck and 9 of her cabinet members were ousted by the Thai Supreme Court. Will they be jailed? I do not know.

    Perry, the contrast between the two governments seems to be a good subject for you to write about…. could be a real eye opener. Your readers will greatly appreciate your writing about it.

  4. Don Azarias says:

    Perry,

    If only P-Noy has the balls and would act like the real godfather or “capo di tutti capi” of truth and justice in his role as president of the Philippines, this criminal case would have already been decided by now and those corrupt lawmakers and their partners in crime would have already been sitting in prison.

    The problem is that P-Noy is not acting like a strong and decisive leader. Instead he is like a “tutti frutti.” He also seems to lack the moral compass as the country’s president.

    I said those words because everyone knows that he is hell-bent on protecting his friends and associates who are involved in this monstrosity. Needless to say, he is as guilty as those criminals. So, what’s new? Let us not be deceived for once. Let the recent political history of the old country be our guide. This is nothing but a “zarzuela” or vaudeville being played by those corrupt political leaders where the script of the ugly truth will, ultimately, be swept under the rug.

    As to the identity of the puppet master who controls the strings to corrupt the corrupt, I think we can draw our own conclusion.

    Don

    • perry says:

      Hi Don,

      I like your depiction of P-Noy as “tutti frutti.” Hahaha….

      Perry

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Don, in other words, these organized grab ass as I call it isn’t going anywhere. PNoy will more likely do everything he can to protect his pals, as for the rest of those rotten lawmakers whose names that are now etched deeply on that famous list will be swearing up and down that they have not stolen a single centavo, they will probably asked their parish priest to hold a special mass for them, then swear on their parents grave that their conscience are as clean as the newly fallen snow on top of Mt. Everest. I think Ping Lacson did confirm that during his 12 year stint as a senator, he never once used his allotted Pork Barrel fund therefore no one can accused him of stealing. So are we to assume that the Pork Barrel fund are just there for these greedy politicians to put in their pockets? Now we know why most of the districts that these people represents are in such disarray because they are pocketing the funds set up for the betterment of their cities. I think our kababayans need to get off their lazy asses and start kicking these sorry excuse for humanity out of their district and hang them by their scrotum.

  5. roy says:

    P-Noy was a reluctant to be a president but with the pushing of corrupt politicians, he was forced to be a candidate. They knew that a weakling president is their advantage. P-Noy rely on his fiends to decide for he don’t have a backbone at all.

  6. Cesar D. Candari MD says:

    Perry, your summary of the pork barrel scandal are fascinating , accurate and must be read and be easily understood by your readers. A solution must be established. But how? I absolutely with Don’s comments.
    This is a litany of your complaints and grievances of what has been happening in our pitiful country. No matter how we expressed our grievances, and make an expose of the monstrosity of our leaders, we seem to be unable to bring out solutions. There is so much to be desired about the Philippines that we know today. There is so much pathological greed, dishonesty, opportunism, frustration, and unfathomable graft and corruption in the government. Nobody stops them. How Aquino can correct this is beyond my imagination. Sad to say President Aquino’s adviser Budget Secretary Florencio Abad is indeed an adviser of Napoles in the pork barrel scam. As Filipinos we have to do our share on defending our country. Those leaders that took part in this shameless scam should all go to jail. However, I don’t think they are.We have a flawed justice system in this pitiful country?
    The actions of Aquino so far are too late and slow because he has corrupt allies and friends and associates in this scandal. We must have an effective and visionary leadership in the Philippines with priority to end the blatant corruption that magnify poverty in our country,a leader to promote economic initiatives, civility, justice, and accountability. I do not trust anyone of those current leaders in our country.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      I think our country has now reached that point of no return. Corruption had become part of our culture, it’s now accepted as an alternative to honest living, the rich and the powerful uses it to conduct their business, our government had become the breeding ground for corrupt activities even the poorest of the poor are engaging in it just so they can survive. Our system of government is a joke, we are continuously electing unqualified people to represent us in the government, then after they put the screws on us, we do it all over again.

      • pat talens says:

        Bobby, so many factors to cast blame for the Philippines’ irrational, dysfunctional and sinful status quo. I would argue, one of these is the late Manuel L. Quezon’s provocatively unwise political agenda that brought about the destructively premature giving of independence to the Philippines by the United States—that it is preferred the Philippines be run like hell by Filipinos than be governed as heaven by the Americans. I was yet to live before his time, but his ominous rhetorical political slogan for which he earned a page in Philippine history is everywhere and anywhere seen throughout the Philippines, especially in natural disasters stricken regions of the Visayas that continue to suffer from apathy, incompetence, corruptions, and misguided rehabilitations efforts by the government.

        The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. The number of the poor continue to accelerate to a tipping point that soon unspeakable conversations for a necessary revolution will be in the offing.
        The mushrooming hungry poor are resorting to anything—just to survive. It seems to me this is the consequential event that lurks in the near term for the land from which we were born.

        • Bobby Bagos says:

          Pat, this disease will continue to infect our country unless the Filipino people themselves get into the act and say enough is enough. It affect everyone, not just the underdog. Our flawed justice system can’t seem to get ahead in handling these corruption cases, especially when big name politicians are involved. The Ampatuan massacre case is still in limbo, the Arrroyos and those thieving generals as well. These shit for brains politicians think it’s a game, but what they don’t seem to realize is that it upsets the quality of life of all our citizens. I hope our kababayans will soon wake up and really get involve in putting a stop to this disease.

  7. Fernando Habito says:

    The pork barrel scam indicates the cycle of corruptions in the PHL political system. The scenario shows that the country got a weak justice system that can NOT correct and stop the greedy politicians. They are the lawmakers and the lawbreakers. The PNL editorial tag the country as “Land of Thieves and Liars”.That’s the reality!.Will the electorates/voters learn from the past?. Even electing a new president in 2016 corruptions keep going on, we might get a president worst than Pnoy..with the same “trapos” and political dynasties in the gov’t system eradicating corruptions will remain elusive to dream for a change.

    • pat talens says:

      A parliamentary system or a transformatively revolutionary government are two political choices looming in the horizon that seem to fit to correct the societal problems in the Philippines.

  8. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    “Money begets money” – sort of by-words by the person/s whose livelihood is to manage their money (La Cuarta Nostra) to work well for them.

    Posible y’ung FINANCIER ni Napoles ang Capo di tutti Capi – the Godfather – the Corruptor who corrupts the corrupts without end.

    The FINANCIER/GODFATHER maybe a lone individual or group of individuals whose money multiplies from financial ventures whether legitimate or not.

    Napoles must reveal her Financier/s. The people know already that most politicians and those in the civil service are corrupt- so nothing is new from the lists. Her list is incomplete without the name of real Godfather.

    The PHL economic and political situations have been unstable for so many years the reason why Poverty, Corruption, Political Dynasts and Jueteng Co-exist.

    The PHL really needs new breed of people to run the government. The present Executive, Legislative and Judicial system are all dysfunctional and no longer trustworthy, in my opinion.

    The constitution, if amended, should create an active State Council that oversees these 3 branches of government, like what other countries do.

  9. Willie Mandy says:

    As long as we this type of government with a constitution full of “Ass Hole”, I mean full of every type of holes, we will be forever be poor and exploited — the common “tao”,the Filipino people. Except of course the rich regular corrupt politicians, the greedy Pinoy rich Chinese (Chinese first and last as Filipino to hide their motive), the clans with absolute power and money (dynasty) in every provinces– like the Marcoses, Enrile, Estrada, P Noy,Arroyo, and other super star familiar last names. The final solution–PEACEFUL REVOLUTION, COMPLETE OVERHAUL OF OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Now, who’s going to do the difficult task of convincing millions of our kababayans whose common sense are presently nowhere to be found that drastic changes are needed to get our country back on its feet? If you think about it, it’s really their fault why our country is in such a sad shape. They are the ones responsible for creating those monsters, and the people doesn’t seem to give a damn that these worthless politicians are making a mockery of our Constitution and our Judicial System. Something had to be done soon or our country will forever be stuck in the quicksand of corruption.

    • Badbeat15 says:

      Looks like China is not what Filipinos should be scared off, it’s these Dirty,Crooked Politicians which they should be scared off. They will eat the Philippines from the inside until thre is nothing left to eat. They then, can just leave and live anywhere they want with what they have eaten.

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