POSTSCRIPT /April 24, 2014 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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Jogging Janet’s brain, loosening her tongue

CUARTANAMERA: This email from Antonio Pigafetta is too good not to share with Filipino taxpayers who have no choice but to grin and bear It:

Benhur Luy: Unang kumanta
Napoles: Napa-kanta
De Lima: Arranger ng kanta
Ruby Tuason & Cunanan: Sintunado ang kanta
Morales & Pulido-Tan: Back up singers ng kanta
Butch Abad: Pinagmulan ng kanta
Title of kanta: Cuartanamera
Genre ng kanta: Porksong
Recording company: Pasig River Records
Distributor: Yellow media (ang maaasar, kayo yun)
Sales ng kanta: Hindi maibenta.

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PIECEMEAL SERVING: The Secretary of Justice should be the last person to desire or conspire to inflict injustice on anyone.

It is unseemly for Secretary Leila de Lima to serve piecemeal the pre-selected juicy portions of the confession of Janet Lim Napoles, said to be the pork barrel scam mastermind, that dovetail with the administration’s campaign to jail targeted opposition senators.

Such selective persecution, pursued with partisan zeal and cunning, has no place in our justice system.

With a hint of a naughty smile (like the Joker-like grin of the Senate Yellow Ribbon committee chairman) De Lima is going to town using Napoles to pillory the respondents before a public prepped up to believe the worst said of them.

* * *

JOGGED LOOSE: It might even turn out, after the demolition job has shown results, that the administration will drop Napoles as a possible state witness against its political enemies.

Dropping her like a dirty rag after use is not farfetched – although such should be done with utmost care because an irate Napoles might just decide to talk, really talk, and send the entire establishment crashing down.

Napoles has been saying all along that she knows nothing about pork barrel, then falling into fits of forgetfulness.

Medical science would be forever grateful if the Ospital ng Makati revealed what OsMak and Palace specialists did to Ma’am Janet that jogged her mind and loosened her tongue to trigger her stream-of-consciousness recitation of her porky past.

* * *

LAST TOUCH: De Lima’s dilemma is how much of Napoles’ recollection should be allocated for propaganda and prosecution – two entirely different operations subsumed under a common objective – without compromising her credibility any further.

Is a puzzlement that while the justice secretary speaks of a Napoles sworn statement (we presume it is notarized and therefore a public record), she hides it under her scarf. We hope she does not pull the scarf too tight it might strangle her or the truth.

Napoles’ sworn statement should be made public in full and at once to preclude any editing as the pre-trial negotiation between her and De Lima goes its labyrinthine way.

(Come to think of it, who is the chief editor, the last-touch gatekeeper, of the Napoles Confession before it is leaked to the Enquirer?)

* * *

TAINTED TESTIMONY: Such pre-trial negotiation, to us laymen, is simple bargaining – as in plea bargaining.

In plea bargaining in criminal cases, the suspect agrees to plead guilty to a less serious charge or to one of several charges in exchange for a concession from the prosecutor or a lighter sentence (but the judge must be in on the deal).

The accused is always meted out some punishment for a lesser offense, but never allowed to go scot-free in exchange for her being used – like Judas — to crucify somebody else. Napoles’ expectation of personal gain will taint her testimony against another.

It would be unjust if Napoles the mastermind were given most favored treatment, allowed to keep her dirty billions and spend abbreviated time in comparative comfort in exchange for pinning down three of her co-accused being set up to be displayed as trophies of war.

* * *

JUDAS SYNDROME: Talking of Judas and Money, reflect on these excerpts from the Good Friday homily delivered in St. Peter’s Basilica by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household:

“In the divine-human history of the passion of Jesus, there are many minor stories about men and women who entered into the ray of its light or its shadow. The most tragic one is that of Judas Iscariot.

“Judas was chosen to be one of the Twelve. In inserting his name in the list of apostles, the gospel-writer Luke says, ‘Judas Iscariot, who became (egeneto) a traitor’. Judas was thus not born a traitor and was not a traitor at the time Jesus chose him; he became a traitor!”

* * *

GOD vs MAMMON: “We are before one of the darkest dramas of human freedom. Why did he become a traitor?

“The Gospels speak of a more down-to-earth motive: Money. Judas was entrusted with the group’s common purse. On the occasion of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany, Judas had protested against the waste of the precious perfumed ointment that Mary poured on Jesus’ feet, not because he was interested in the poor but, as John notes, ‘because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it’.

“His proposal to the chief priests is explicit: ‘What will you give me if I deliver him to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

“But why are people surprised at this explanation, finding it too banal? Has it not always been this way in history and is still this way today? Mammon, money, is not just one idol among many: it is the idol par excellence, literally ‘a molten god’.

“Jesus tells us clearly who the other master, the anti-God, is: ‘No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and mammon.’ Money is the ‘visible god’ in contrast to the true God who is invisible. Mammon is the anti-God because it creates an alternative spiritual universe; it shifts the purpose of the theological virtues. Faith, hope, and charity are no longer placed in God, but in money.”

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of April 24, 2014)

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