Just my opinion as an ex-Senate reporter
By Raïssa Robles
Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, former Senate President pro tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Bong Revilla are all multi-millionaires. Today they stand accused of the lowest of crimes any politician or government official can commit – pocketing funds supposed to go to the poorest of the poor.
Wonder no more why the country’s poverty rate has not only NOT dropped, it has actually been rising. Because all that money supposed to uplift people from poverty allegedly went to line the pockets of some already and sensationally wealthy people.
I’m not saying that Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla are guilty. What I’m saying is that grand theft of the very poor is the crime for which they have just been indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman.
And if you read the separate indictments – one against each senator – you are presented with a very detailed easy-to-understand paper trail that will take your breath away.
Just a word of caution. Don’t read it while eating or after. It may make you vomit.
I have posted a copy of each indictment at the end of this piece.
The three senators stand accused of stealing a combined P1.14 billion, broken down as follows:
Enrile P345 million
Estrada P278 million
Revilla P517 million
Consider this. Under our type of democracy, poverty alleviation is mainly the job of government. The government collects taxes in order to re-allocate these among all sectors of society, putting a special emphasis on the poor. It is for this reason that we have the “Conditional Cash Transfer Program” which gives poor families cash provided they keep their young children in school.
And it is for this reason congressmen and senators have been given millions of pesos in pork yearly, so that they can earmark these sums to their constituents, particularly the poor among them.
Just to give some examples as shown in their indictments.
The Ombudsman said that Revilla, for instance, allocated P517 million for the poor – and of this amount, P40 million was supposed to have bought “Agricultural Production Packages (knapsack sprayers, gardening tools and liquid fertilizers)” and gone to beneficiaries in the following provinces: San Agustin, Surigao del Sur; Bansalan, Davao del Sur; Buldon, Shariff Kabunsuan; Malalag, Davao del Sur; Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao; Upi, Shariff Kabunsuan; Alubijid, Misamis Oriental; Montevista, Compostela Valley.
The P40 million simply vanished and never reached the intended recipients.
Meanwhile P20 million of Enrile’s pork was supposed to have bought “Fertilizer, Gardening Packages, and Knapsack sprayer” for beneficiaries in Don Marcelino, Davao del Sur; Banaybanay, Davao Oriental; Manukan, Zamboanga del Norte; and Magpet, North Cotabato. The P20 million also vanished and never reached the intended recipients.
Also to have vanished was a P22.5 million chunk of Estrada’s pork supposed to have gone to “Financial Assistance/Grants for livelihood materials and farm implements/inputs” for beneficiaries in the towns of Clarin, Misamis Occidental and Talusan, Zamboanga, Sibugay.
Where all that money vanished, I will answer in the next piece.
One third of all Filipinos belong to the farming sector. It is one of the sectors in most need of money but this comes in dribbles. In the specific examples I just gave, the combined amount that was lost amounted to P82.5 million. That kind of money would have been very welcome to revive the farms destroyed by typhoons and pests.
Last month, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala turned over P57 million worth of agriculture projects and assistance to poor farmers in Davao. That’s a piddling sum compared to what has been lost in the pork scam supposedly intended for farmers.
All the indicted senators have conceded that millions of pesos of their pork had been lost and these did not benefit the poor. As to where the money went, they indicated they did not know. But all of them insist they had nothing to do, nor were they responsible in any way for the disappearance of all that money.
Senator Enrile, in the counter-affidavit he submitted to the Ombudsman, said the implementation of pork projects “is the exclusive function and responsibility of the executive department.”
Senator Estrada said he “had no hand towards the implementation of the projects funded by the PDAF [such that his choice of NGO to implement his PDAF projects was] clearly recommendatory [and] is best left to the motivated and the willing.” Whatever did THAT mean?
The Ombudsman also quoted Estrada as saying he “did not conspire with anyone to pilfer or misuse his PDAF allocations, and his association with Napoles did not necessarily mean that he connived with her to divert PDAF disbursements; and following the Arias doctrine, he merely relied on the recommendations of his subordinate.”
The Arias doctrine refers to a corruption case brought before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan which essentially acquitted a public official from the acts of “dishonest or negligent subordinates.” In other words,
Revilla Estrada was blaming his staff for the pork scam.
Revilla took a different tack. In his counter affidavit, he said his signatures in all the pork documents were forged. If there were irregularities, he said he “should not be held liable as [his] involvement in the PDAF released (sic) is limited.” How limited, Revilla did not say.
If you ask me, all their arguments are fantastic for one obvious reason. The Senate is the only government entity given vast powers to investigate anomalies through the Blue Ribbon Committee. When the pork barrel scandal first broke middle of last year, none of the three senators angrily stood up and demanded that his name be cleared in a wide-ranging investigation. All three waited and waited months before speaking out.
A law professor has waded in to say there is nothing to force these senators to resign while their cases are going on, because all are innocent until proven guilty.
For me, that sums up everything that is wrong with our democratic system. Our leaders have no sense of delicadeza that is evident in other democracies like Germany or Japan. At the faintest whiff of scandal, an official in those countries resigns out of a sense of honor. Many of our officials are called “Honorable” without deserving that title.
Even if the three senators are still not convicted of any crime, it is clear they did not take great care of the people’s money. And yet they rant and rave whenever they accuse other government officials outside the legislature of corruption and scandal. These senators have lost the moral ascendancy to investigate other officials of wrongdoing.
Let the heckling begin whenever they accuse any official of a crime or investigate him for one. You can read below the indictments filed by the Ombudsman against Revilla, Estrada and Enrile.
Hail, hail the gang’s all here
Never mind the plunder if we are together;
Hail, hail the gang’s all clear………
We will be back!!!!!!!
Abbey Canturias says
Instead of focusing on plunder, the DOJ should have used malversation of public funds as the basic indictment parameter. Six handfuls of our lawmakers should have been held accountable. Seeing as many as 146 congressmen and senators haled to court should have given our nation a wide sense of relief. This selective acts of justice only add fire to the PDAF and DAP issue.
They should resign from being senators and from being politicians in the future or better yet ban those people from running in politics if they have severe cases like plunder or corruption or other cases, kahit na ma acquit or not proven guilty, di na dapat sila patakbuhin
jorge bernas says
Puwede sila Tumakbo yon nga lang ay HUWAG NA IBOTO para magsilbing aral sa lahat nang mga MAGNANAKAW?
We. Were. All. Robbed.
The poor who get shortchanged on social services because funds are pocketed by those who are supposed to lift them up from poverty, they were robbed.
Students who could not get the education that will give them a brighter future because funds for schoolhouses and books went to the building of mansions for public officials, they were robbed.
The destitute who could not avail of even basic healthcare because government money is used to buy cars and designer bags for the families of public officials instead of medicines for our health centers and public hospitals, they were robbed.
The soldiers and policemen who had to die because their generals would rather spend military funds for trips abroad rather than providing for sufficient arms and ammunition, they were robbed.
The farmer who had to toil on borrowed land for generations because our senators and congressmen would rather spend their PDAF on their mistresses and properties abroad rather than in a true and sustainable land reform, they were robbed.
But the biggest irony of all is that all these people who have been robbed the most are the same people who have over and over again elected into public office the crooks that infest our society. These corrupt public officials steals not just our money – they steal our future. The people who continue voting for them and their kind sells not just their votes – they sell the dignity of the entire Filipino race.
looking back, people did not know then politicians were robbers. how could they be robbers when they seem so caring, always smiling, shaking hands and giving abuloy to schoolars, being seen in barrio fiestas, sponsoring community events and celebrations, also handing out relief goods in times of calamities? how could they be evil when they go to church regularly and even pay for funerals of those na walang kaya? ang galing pa nilang magsalita, so sincere and very convincing. really, it was hard for ordinary people to see through the facades. politicians clandestine operations were so secretive and done under the radar. it was only after benhur luy made 180 turn that politicians were exposed. rabusa was before that though suicidee angelo reyes was appointed official and not elected politician.
now, that ordinary people know the evils politicians had done, I doubt if they be so forgiving. already politicians are feeling the heat. few tried to leave the country. some resorted to being sick. many are keeping their heads down, trying not to attract attention. ordinary people are changing.
vander anievas says
@den, good ovservation, well said @moonie,
our books are silent about them esp. on the dictator FM and cronies.
youth nowadays have low regard to a lot of mediamen.
they think their stories/articles are just for mileage.
common knowledge, they being used by politicians and paid for.
if we the ML generations will tire informing the new generations, we are kaput.
however, hope is always around.
we and our children and kins must work together to announce this cancer to be rid of.
we have to work harder everyday.
make full use of the internet and web.
events and news spread like fire via IT.
netizens must be informed of the real issues/events.
they should be taught on how to discern truth from lies.
let’s all be vigilant.
never fail to post our observations on time.
let’s fill all available net or site of their ill and evil deeds.
never again we be robbed by those thieving traitors…
ay, vander, people are keeping the heat on these dirty politicians. there was the 1million march in luneta where corona got booed. the only time politicians can make speeches is at congress or in their own districts where they can hardly be booed. still, their speeches are reproduced in the internet and they still got booed. dirty politicians are being called to account. as well, there has been call for them to resign or go on leave, and the call is gathering momentuum. yong nasa ibang bansa ngayon ay maghanda-handa sa pag-uwi nila. there might be a welcoming party at the airport heckling them, blocking their way and shouting at them.
@Den … ‘We. Are.All.Innocent: My.Signature.Forged. Not.My.Concern. Not.Our.Function.’
…’Why Only Us?
…’Selective Justice Nga!’
…’I Remain Silent.’
…’I Will Run For VP On 2016′
…’I Want A Divine Miracle’
…’My Term Is Up On 2016′
Vote For Us. We Buy And Sell Votes. Check AyosDito And Solit Ads.
Filipinos: You Are Rucky! We Rob You.
Victin Luz says
@Den ,,,,many of us Filipinos are now happy to see how this three Senators will be arrested soon and hoping for their conviction but if they are going to let the other Senators and other Government officials go unscratched without investigating them or COA holding other comprehensive audit investigation on them…palagay ko ” moro moro ” din ang kakalabasan lahat ng mga ito…LULUSUT ang mga iyan lalo na si Enrile…. LAHATIN na ni DE LIMA withouth going for the lengtiest Senate Hearings as long as she has with her detailed COA reports ..
Victin Luz says
When will those OTHERs who were investigated and issued COA CSB ( cash settlement balances ) be prosecuted? If we had heard that an specific time or period to prosecute this OTHERs is needed otherrwise Ombudsman can no longer ran after them…. PAPAANO HIHINTO ang KORUPTION NYAN?…
Texas oldest prison inmates : Estanislao Colon – 92 years old
Cruz Padilla Barrientes – 89 years old
New York’s prison inmates : John Bunz – 94 years old
Link: The Texas Tribune
The Midland jails in Redditch is housing Britain’s oldest prisoner, a 91 years old man.
I can’t understand why Enrile couldn’t be imprisoned for his PDAF scam due to age related provision of the revised Penal Code which is coddling him and protecting him. This is utterly outrageous and most injustice to the Filipino people. His stolen money has caused unaccountable deaths from all walks of life which is tantamount to murders committed by him as people didn’t and can’t avail of proper hospitalization and medication due to shortage of funds / lack of money and deprived food, education and employment to the ordinary / needy citizens.
The Aquino government and Ombudsman have to override the revised Penal Code as this is not for the general benefit of the whole citizenry, but only catering for the most corrupt politicians. If not, PNoy and Ombudsman are heaping more injustice to the miserable and deplorable life of the masa. A wrongdoing can’t be corrected by another wrongdoing.
In our country, corruption is so common that it is expected when ordinary business or citizens interact with government officials. The end-point of political corruption is kleptocracy ” the rule of the thieves”.
If Enrile can’t be imprisoned, put him in the firing squad. Let blood be extracted from him, as his blood is not enough ( just a drop) to compensate from the blood he extracted from the poor / poorest of the country by his stealing of the people’s money.
If he can be elected Senator, he can be responsible for his alleged misdeeds as senator. Otherwise, old age becomes a pass to do anything.
If he can attend Senate sessions, he can attend to his cases and go wherever it takes him.
I absolutely agree
our justice system is not capable to incarcerate an influential and filthy rich bad guy in the merit of justice, but political benefits.
Victin Luz says
@clearpasig…yes, many of us are worried about that………Let other official’s from the opposotion and/or administration be prosecuted immediately ALSO and the LORD will give us smooth – fast prosecution and convictionfor ENRILE, ESTRADA and REVILLA… …Selective justice and they will be free again….
vander anievas says
sana nga ay totohanang mapatawan ng parusa ang totoong may-sala ng pagnanakaw.
ung pantay at tamang kaparusahan lamang, walang labis, walang kulang.
sana ay katulad rin ng ating mga karaniwang mamamayang nasa bilangguan.
at ang paggagawad ng karampatang parusa ay hindi dahil sa partido o personahe.
parusang may paggalang ngunit walang pagkiling.
parusang may simpatya ngunit walang espesyal na pagtrato.
at ang mga nakahilera pa na sasampahan ay isunod na rin agad sa tatlo.
sana kung may bitay pa, yun ang iparusa sa tatlo…
upang hindi na makaulit pa.
nakakasawa na kasi.
@vander, lahat ng SANA sa iyong tinuran ay matagaaaaaaaaaaaaaal nang inaasamasam ng ating bayan. subalit ang mga SANA NA YAN ay maisasakatuparan at mararanasan ng susunod na generasyon
KUNG ang hustisya ng bayan natin ay HINDI usad KUHOL(snail)
KUNG ang piring ng hustisya ay hindi PERA
KUNG ang mga mga BOTANTE ay hindi magbebenta ng kanilang mga karapatan
KUNG walang LAGAY sa mga korte lalo na sa mga mayayaman
KUNG walang immunity (?) ang mga halal na opisyal ng bayan kung sila ay nagkakasala
napakarami pang KUNG na SANA ay mangyari upagn UMUNLAD ang ating bayan subalit ANG LAHAT NG KUNG AY SA KANG KUNGAN LANG NAPUNTA.
have changed my handle to something positive than binaynono but my sentiment and goal are still the same: they are in line with what you are saying about “the biggest irony of all”. this biggest irony” is about to be manifested in 2016 and we, the folks who are all agreed, articulate and vocal about “the biggest irony of all” do not yet have a plan on how to counteract it, how to make it sink in among the folks who are not in cyber plaza miranda. everywhere i have been to inside or outside makati/manila, people are predicting a binay win. ano ba, nightmares and sleepless nights na lang?
I thought that the Million People March would be the beginning of an awakening of the people. But it was hijacked by groups with their own vested interests. But that does not mean we stop trying. The internet is a wide open venue for us to share our views. I share my thoughts during conversations with friends. Every chance I have, I ask people to do their share in making our government more accountable to us the people. Real electoral reforms is not in the near future simply because the government bodies that are supposed to make it happen are still dominated by the very same crooks who benefit from the current rotten system.
Mar Roxas will win as president of the Republic of the Philippines in 2016.
For starter, Mar announced that 4 billion pesos has been allotted by the Aquino administration as financial aid to Western and Eastern Visayas, which aid has nothing to do with “Yolanda.” The other day Mar distributed about 800 million pesos for rehabilitation of Yolanda victims in Leyte.
I guess this would be replicated in other regions this year, next year and in 2016.
Anybody who has that amount of money to spend for the Filipino people will win the presidency hands down in the next election unless cheated by PNoy and the COMELEC. In other words, even a monkey will win the presidency if PNoy remained as president up to June 30, 2016; only 15% of the Filipino people continued to oppose PNoy and PNoy fully supported his candidate.
“In the latest Pulse Asia ratings, the survey shows that only 9% of the people do not trust the president. This means that 91% of the nation either have confidence in his integrity, veracity and justice or at least remain undecided which means that they are, at least, willing to give him a chance.
“The extremely low “distrust” rating of PNoy shows that the Filipino believes in his leadership. This trust and leadership are his greatest assets in transforming society and even charting the direction for the Philippines well beyond his term.”
I agree with the author that PNoy can well provide the compass for the Philippines to stay the course of “Matuwid na Daan” beyond 2016. PNoy can do that by anointing a competent and honest successor. And as I presently search the horizon, only Mar Roxas can fill the gap, warts and all.
Victin Luz says
Rather than BINAY or BONGBONG ,,,,if we can not agree on other’s then MAR ROXAS wil be ideal ” tuwd nq daan ” candidate and to become our President on 2016… Pahirit sana si GRACE nang ang VP.. @atty Rene
A Roxas-Binay rematch will be interesting. Adding flavor is the fact that the PNoy camp is still divided into 2 houses – one supporting Binay and the other Roxas. Which house will prevail in 2016? I really hope God will see it fit to intervene again and send us someone to lead the country into the transformation we so badly need. We do not need someone who wants the presidency so badly. We want someone that the presidency needs so badly. It definitely is not Binay. Roxas is still not there. Maybe we need someone from outside of mainstream politics?
Two sensational trials have similarity – seeming indefensibility
The case of Oscar Pistorius, 27, whose legs were amputated when he was 11, and called “the fastest man on no legs” after becoming a Paralympics champion, is accused of premeditated murder of his lovely girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model and law graduate, on February 14, 2013 at his upmarket home in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar claims that when he heard noises in his home, he mistook girlfriend Reeva for an intruder inside their restroom and accidentally shot her 4 times with his 9 mm pistol, but the prosecution accuses him of intentionally shooting her in the early hours of Valentines Day last year after an argument.
The plunder case of the 3 senatongs who endorsed their millions of PDAF allocations to non-existing NGOs – and therefore non-existing projects, based on voluminous documentary evidence unearthed by the COA and collaborated by numerous whistleblowers, is seen as indefensible. Both jinggoy and revilla blamed the implementing agencies for the fracas while enrile asserted that he did not authorize gigi to sign in his behalf on project endorsements. Whatever, the 3 cannot escape causing undue injury to the government due to their gross inexcusable negligence (RA 3019)
vander anievas says
could be gross intentional negligence…hehehe…
The “palusot” defense by Pistorious, Enrile, Estrada and Revilla. I recommend Congressman Rudy Fariñas as trial prosecutor.
vander anievas says
next explosive news. 3 sangkot sa pdaf scam dinampot!!!
In the meantime…
Feast on KrisTek…
vander anievas says
agaw eksena nga si teta..