Editorial & Opinion

Jenny sings oldies

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Mar “Boy Mura” Roxas has been suspended for two months by the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club after he threw a fit and cussed out club employees early this month.

Roxas’ suspension, recommended by the club’s membership committee headed by Federico “Butch” Campos and approved by the Wack-Wack board of directors, will be officially announced after the visit to Manila next week of US President Barack Obama, so as not to embarrass President Noynoy Aquino’s favorite Cabinet member and trouble-maker, I mean trouble-shooter.

The suspension got the nod of the ruling five-man majority in the board headed by club president Philip Ella Juico, who is known to be a staunch supporter of Aquino. Three of the other four members of the nine-man board, who belong to the minority, abstained, while one was absent during the voting.

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Will Ma’am Jenny sing a new song? Can a canary be anything but yellow?

The most sought-after document these days is the affidavit prepared by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima after a long meeting Monday night between the two women. But I wonder if Napoles’ statement is not merely the sanitized version of the entire controversy, hewing to Malacañang’s script of who should be held responsible for looting public funds intended for lawmakers’ projects—and who should be exonerated.

It is significant that Napoles and De Lima met only now, many moons after the pork barrel story broke. Apparently, it took that long for the script to be prepared and to jog Napoles’ famously failing memory, which went on full display during the Senate investigation of the matter.

I doubt very much if Napoles truly told all in her deposition. Given her blanket denials and professions of not knowing anything previously, the fact that she has suddenly remembered anything smacks of a modus vivendi with the people who have her in their custody, not some latter-day epiphany in the manner of Paul on his way to Damascus.

I’ve long insisted that Napoles may be at the mercy of the Aquino administration, which has kept her in detention since last year, but that she is not without means of her own to bring down key figures in government, not just Congress. My own informants have maintained that Napoles has evidence that would incriminate not just senators and congressmen who benefited from her daring and long-running kickback scheme, but also her enablers in the Executive, who can be found in the Department of Budget and Management, in the key agencies used to funnel the funds through questionable projects and all the way to the smoke-filled Office of the President.

Napoles’ lawyer has explained that even before his client went before the Senate to basically say nothing at all, she had already been seeking an audience with De Lima. I can believe that, if only because the strategy of President Noynoy Aquino and his advisers early on was to keep Napoles on ice as a guest of the government in Fort Sto. Domingo, until it is made clear to her that she should come to terms with her jailers or face retribution from her former co-conspirators in Congress on the outside.

De Lima, the totally subservient justice chief, would never have met with Napoles without Aquino’s go-ahead. It is also telling that, right after De Lima met with Napoles, she proceeded straightaway to a debriefing session with the President himself.

Some news outlets, meanwhile, have let it be known that Napoles’ de facto confession will name not just the usual suspects, but nearly all of the Senate and a bunch of congressmen, besides. Since they cannot seem to quote directly from the affidavit, I am forced to assume that this is a red herring - much like those thoroughly laughable reports that Napoles is seeking to turn state’s witness in a crime where she is supposedly the most guilty.

I’m not saying that there won’t be any news names named, even from among Malacañang’s allies who have fallen out of favor and may just be thrown to the wolves, to keep the natives from getting restless. I am saying that if you’re expecting a new, opera-length production, you’re in for a terrible disappointment; Jenny will sing only old songs, from one songwriter.

After Napoles’ testimony is “vetted” enough (the word Aquino was supposed to have used in his own meeting with De Lima), the alleged mastermind will presumably be allowed to sing like a canary. But because canaries are yellow, Ma’am Jenny will probably be warbling in tune with the palace choir whose hymnal contains just one song—and it’s not “Estudyante Blues.”

The lyrics of that song are simple: Protect DBM, protect the agencies whose projects were funded on paper by pork funds and, most importantly, protect Aquino and his palace minions who are all neck-deep in the Napoles operation.

So if I were you, I wouldn’t get all excited about Napoles’ affidavit. It’s already been vetted by Malacañang and De Lima; it might as well have been written in the purple prose of Napoles’ one-time chauffeur, Edwin Lacierda.

Napoles may tell all, eventually. But not while she’s in jail—and definitely not while this administration is in power.



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