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Sweat the small stuff seems to be the mantra of certain senators in the wake of the prime-time spitting match between their colleagues Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Short of burying their heads in the sand, these senators could only purse their lips primly and appear unperturbed for the cameras as the two threw parliamentary behavior out the window and engaged each other in language that would make even the proverbial sailor blush.
By Rina Jimenez-David
“It was none of my doing, and yet I cannot do anything about it” was how Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed his frustration over the current blue ribbon committee hearings on the pork barrel scam.
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
The title I owe to Benedict Anderson, the eminent scholar of Southeast Asian history and politics. Studying the electoral landscape, Anderson described the Philippine system as “politics in a well-run casino.”
Unless necessity invents another excuse, the controversial businesswoman at the center of the pork barrel scandal will appear at the Senate today (Thursday), not as a visiting privileged guest but as adverse witness in a blue ribbon committee inquiry. Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind or principal operator behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, likely won’t confront any of the first three senators implicated in the controversy during the hearing; nevertheless, the possibility of legal or emotional fireworks in a packed Senate hall remains potent indeed.
By Randy David
For the sheer drama it packs, the scheduled appearance of Janet Lim-Napoles at the Senate could rival in TV viewership the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and of then President Joseph Estrada. What Janet might say before the Senate blue ribbon committee could permanently tear apart the fabric of Philippine political life. No doubt, it is events like these that make politics more fun in the Philippines. But, as we have seen, their implications for system reform are uncertain. Usually, they produce changes in the actors but not in the script.
The Senate as an institution is now groaning under the weight of embarrassment caused by the pork barrel scandal.
When Ted Turner, founder of Cable News Network (CNN), was asked why he donated $1 million to the United Nations, he answered: “I want to be on the side of the good angels.”
By Amando Doronila
In a privilege speech on Sept. 25, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada startled the public with the revelation that the Aquino administration released P1.107 billion in additional pork barrel to 20 senators in October last year after the Senate voted to convict then Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012, as a payoff for their vote.
Freudian slip? Asked for his reaction to the National Bureau of Investigation’s filing of charges against him and 37 other people last Monday in connection with the pork barrel scam, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada defended himself thus: “They are conditioning the mind of the public that we are the worst thieves, and that I cannot accept.”
If what happened to the three senators happened to three honorable Japanese legislators, they would be dead by now—death by hara-kiri.
By Amando Doronila
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has come under pressure from a lawyer representing the whistle-blowers in the P10-billion pork barrel scandal to file plunder charges against public officials linked to the diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to a group of dummy nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
By Conrado de Quiros
We don’t know yet how the investigation of the named legislators in Janet Napoles’ scheme will turn out. The number of senators the Commission on Audit (COA) has identified as having had dealings with Napoles has grown to six from three. Apart from Ramon Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, they now include Bongbong Marcos, Loren Legarda and Vicente Sotto.