Just my opinion
By Raïssa Robles
I entitled it – Looking for heroes, I talk to a Nice Guy with a dirty job
Today, however painful, I have to write again about Ruffy Biazon because the Justice Secretary said he was among the 33 former and current lawmakers to be charged for malversation, graft and bribery before the Ombudsman.
When the Commission on Audit (COA) came out with an initial report on the pork barrel scam in mid-August this year, I had scanned it and found the name of Rozzano Biazon.
The Coa report said its team of investigators had asked for Biazon’s side several times but he never responded.
BREAKING NEWS AS OF 4:51 pm Dec 2, 2013
Ruffy Biazon has just tendered his “irrevocable resignation.”
I commend him for doing the honorable thing. I hope he turns whistleblower.
Two weeks later on August 30, 2013 a Philippine Star news report bylined by Jess Diaz saved me from making a phone call to Biazon. The report noted that between 2007 to 2009, Biazon had given P28.7 million of his pork to three NGOs: Dynamic Filipino Citizen Civic Organization Inc., P18 million; Unlad Pinoy Organization, P8 million; and Philippine Social Development Foundation, P2.7 million.
The report said Philstar had asked Biazon for his reaction to the COA report. And Biazon’s reply was that he would review his disbursement record.
So when Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced last Friday that Biazon was among those to be charged, I had expected Biazon to explain what he had found after examining his disbursement records.
Before I could phone him to ask, Biazon released the following statement on his website:
“Accounting for public funds comes with the territory of serving in government, whether it be at the lowest levels of local government or in the high levels of national office.
Therefore, I am willing and ready to face the allegations raised today pertaining to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocated to my congressional district during my term as representative of the lone district of Muntinlupa.
I had always exercised prudence and fidelity in the performance of my duty as Representative of the Muntinlupa as well as in other responsibilities to the public, and pursued projects and programs that benefited my constituents. But as we have seen in some instances, the processes involved have been vulnerable to abuse by certain parties.
I have yet to see the documents pertinent to this issue, but I welcome the opportunity to clarify and answer the accusations whether before the National Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Ombudsman or the courts.”
I read it inside out and I could not find any denial of wrongdoing.
What caught my attention was the sentence:
“But as we have seen in some instances, the processes involved have been vulnerable to abuse by certain parties.”
Biazon’s statement reminded me instantly of a statement issued by ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo years ago, wherein she blamed the political system for the 2004 election fraud, wherein she had been implicated.
The political system is corrupt, yes. Temptations abound. But everyone has the free will to succumb or refuse to take part in the corruption.
Biazon’s statement – that he had yet to see the documents – also rings hollow. He had the months of September, October and November to clarify with COA why he had been named in the report.
Personally, I had wanted Biazon to succeed in ridding the Bureau of Customs of corruption. But with this now hanging on his head, he has no hope anymore to do that. Resignation is the only option.
However, he may still have a chance to redeem himself. And he doesn’t need to see the President to do it.
He needs to tell his ultimate boss – the citizenry – all that he knows about how pork barrel gets funneled to private pockets.
Wish ko lang for Christmas – that Biazon will tell the people what he knows and help break wide open the pork corruption that has been going on for a long, long time. Name names. He can be protected from libel if he testifies in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
What he couldn’t do in Customs he just might succeed in doing to our political structure.