MAGANES: Where all the scams went
Scam after scam. Investigations here and there by the Senate and House of Representatives. Scams in the government have already been part of the daily lives of the Filipinos. At most they are nerve-wracking. They are insults to our senses much so that they are slowly eroding our trust and faith in the government.
Each presidency in this country has its own taste of scams. Marcos had been regarded as the “greatest thief” of them all with all the real, perceived and imaginary corruptions he did during his term. President Corazon C. Aquino, although regarded as “saint” by most of her followers, had also her “Kamag-anak Incorporated”. That group was perceived to be the corruption arm of her government.
President Fidel Valdez Ramos, the cigar pomping president was not spared from such scandal. Who could forget the millions of pesos involved in the scam of the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark, Pampanga?
President Joseph “Erap” Estrada has his “Boracay Mansions” and the infamous “jueteng scandal” that rocked his presidency, which resulted in his ouster and a conviction of a plunder case to boot. There was also the Corbito-Dacer killing that remained to be solved where he was implicated along with then Police General Panfilo Lacson, now a senator.
Erap’s successor President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was perceived to be the most corrupt president this country has ever produced. Her administration has been marred by the ZTE-NBN deal, the electoral fraud, the fertilizer scam and many more. She is now on trial and under house arrest at the V. Luna Memorial Hospital. Even the military has not escaped the prying eyes of the people particularly the media. There was that sneaking out of dollars from the country by General Carlos Garcia and the purchase of alleged over-priced second-hand helicopters of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Who could forget the “euro generals of the PNP?
Under President Benigno S. Aquino III or simply P-Noy, the harbinger of hope of the Pinoys, he is now embattled with the revelation of other scams using the pork barrels of the members of the House of Representatives and senators by using fake non-government organizations or NGOs. If Gloria Arroyo has P780 million scam, under P-Noy’s watch, this has ballooned to P100 billion.
What’s common to all these scams? They were all investigated. They were all revealed to the people. There were whistle blowers like Jun Lozada and Joey De Venecia, who at the end were not given much credit. Lozada’s reputation was even questioned. De Venecia was perceived as a sour graper for not taking the project under the ZTE-NBN deal. He tried to run in the Senate in 2010, but lost.
We are now in the most trying times of nipping in the bud the corruption in this country. I thought for a while that P-Noy will be spared from these scams because of his “Tuwid the Daan”. But the situation is worse compared to his predecessors. Of course, he was not directly involved. It’s his secretary under the Department of Agriculture (DA), some of the honorable senators and representatives. What is hurting is that the amount involved billions, not millions, channeled to fake NGOs but pocketed by the few.
Luy, a close relative of Janet Lim-Nopales started it all. He croaked like a frog. He sang like Pavarotti in his highest tenor voice. But I have reservations to his actions. What if he was given much money by Nopales and not questioned on his alleged withdrawal of funds which he was not authorized to withdraw? Will this Luy will have the courage to come out in the open and implicate all things including the reputation of many public officials?
Nopales and Luy have wallowed in luxury before that scam was whistled out to the public. Nopales as of now has to parry off the many allegations regarding her wealth and that of her relatives. But her daughter Jean has flaunted all those wealth over the YouTube where she’s seen rubbing elbows with the famous of Hollywood and staying in a P80 million condominium. Little did we know that the scam about this has been there for so long a time and the whistle blower kept silent about it not until lately.
Personally, I was disgusted that a fellow Pangasinense was involved in this high profile scam. Agrarian Reform Director Teresita Legaspi Panlilio was one of those involved by depositing P30 million in the name of her daughter Karen Panlilio Pantoja at AMWSLAI on December 6, 2006. The Legaspis are the owners of the Rupertos Hotel and Resort at Linmansangan, Binalonan that was constructed in 2002. At first it was in the name of the daughter Karen until it was transferred to Big Elephant Corporation.
Last May 13, 2013 elections, Panlilio’s brother Renato Legaspi ran as Mayor of Binalonan after his three year stint as vice mayor of Binalonan. Binalonan residents who were interviewed said during the campaign for mayoralty, Legaspi spent like there was no end to their treasures. He donated multi-cabs to his leaders and has hordes of followers perceived as “goons”. People swore that the Legaspis are not that rich, but were amazed at the money they spent during the elections , and where the money came from. I am not questioning here the sources of their wealth, but with Panlilio’s name being dragged into the billion of pesos scam, can we not speculate? Could we not in our sane mind ask? Did the scam had something to do with that left and right spending?
Panlilio’s test of innocence might be lodged on her having canteens that are being operated in parochial schools in District V. But how lucrative are these canteens? How lucrative as a business of the Ruperto’s Hotel and Resort? Are these businesses raking millions of pesos as income per year?
Panlilio is a government official. As public official, we are all aware that the salary of public servants are not that high to be able to live like the rich and famous at the Forbes Park in Makati. Public officials are expected to live modestly.
Panlilio and her daughter Karen has a lot to explain to their fellow Pangasinenses. Are they or aren’t they involved in that scam will be an issue worth waiting for. We just hope that P-Noy will be true to his promise of “Tuwid na Daan”. Let heads roll. Even senators and representatives must be indicted with the full force of law if found out to be in cohorts with the Nopaleses.
Let’s hope for a better Philippines. It is expected that the opening of these scams in public will lead us to greater heights of progress and development.
(For comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog, The Roving Pen at virgilmaganes.wordpress.com)
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