In her column titled “50 Days in jail and counting” (Inquirer, 11/24/12), Solita Monsod tried to make a case for Sergio O. Valencia and his PCSO board, saying that they are unjustly accused, for which reason he is languishing in jail.
If Monsod is a friend of Valencia’s family or an advocate of good governance, it is her right to take that stand. But as a journalist, both in print and in broadcast, it is her duty to check the facts. On this she must be faulted for her failure to do this duty to the public.
She claimed that the PCSO board of directors had no discretionary power to prevent the release of the intelligence fund. We had this kind of rationalization during the 20 years of martial law. Do we still hew to this line of thought? I beg to differ with Monsod on this point. This is a dangerous advocacy. Governing boards and heads of agencies can refuse to appropriate funds for illegal purposes. It is their duty, and they have the inherent power to say no.
The question is not whether Valencia was a good man or not. The question is whether he was a good public servant. That is a question left to the Sandiganbayan to answer.
Monsod ignored the report of her own newspaper: At the Sandiganbayan, the first witness for the prosecution testified that Valencia benefited from the intelligence fund. He made cash advances in the amount of P17,066,269 as evidenced by 24 checks which he encashed despite his not having an intelligence program, and he has not liquidated the same until this time.
On Feb. 2, 2009, Valencia appointed himself as disbursement officer, upon the advise of COA auditor Nilda Plaras, for his own intelligence fund. This made it easier for him to access the funds, unlike the strict control that Monsod claimed he imposes upon his family business.
From Monsod’s perspective, Valencia may be a good man. I do not intend to dispute this. However, there is a famous quote that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Valencia must face the consequences of his inaction or of his participation in the conspiracy of plunder.
—EDUARDO G. ARAULLO,
Office of the Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer,
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office,
Philippine International Convention Center, CCP Complex, Pasay City