“The people are demanding for accountability and justice. If Napoles, who was instrumental in this scam, is being given special treatment and the others who are involved are still not being held accountable, then the government is depriving the people of that justice.” – #abolishporkmovement
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Groups led by #abolishporkMovement trooped to the Ospitalng Makati where Janet Lim-Napoles is confined after her operation last April. They lambasted the government of President Benigno S. Aquino III for giving “special treatment” to Napoles and called the government a “coddler” of thieves and plunderers of the country.
Napoles has been staying in the hospital due to complications. However, news report quoted the spokesperson of the Ospitalng Makati’s Obstetrician Gynecologist Department saying that Napoles’ condition has “improved a lot” and she could be discharged within the week.
“We are here today to hold Napoles and all those who are involved in corruption accountable to the people,” said Eleonor De Guzman, deputy secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said in a short program in front of Ospital ng Makati.
“While poor patients have to wait in long lines at public hospitals to get treatment, Napoles has been receiving ‘special treatment,’” said Monet Silvestre spokesman of #abolishpork Movement. “She who has pocketed billions of money from the people,” he added.
“The people are demanding for accountability and justice. If Napoles, who was instrumental in this scam, is being given special treatment and the others who are involved are still not being held accountable, then the government is depriving the people of that justice,” Silvestre said.
Silvestre criticized the administration for being quick in defending Aquino’s allies who are listed in the Napoles list of those who benefited in the pork barrel scam.
“Before, the government was quick to say guilty to the opposition. But when the Napoles list revealed that Aquino’s allies and members of the Cabinet also benefited in the scam, Aquino says ‘They are innocent unless proven otherwise.’”
Budget Secretary Florencio Butch Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, and TESDA Director-General Joel Villanueva, among others who were named in the list are Aquino’s allies, the jueteng whistle-blower also said in news reports that 80 percent of those in the Napoles list are Aquino’s allies.
“When those who are not allies of Aquino were being accused he did not talk about ‘due process.’ But when the likes of Abad and Alcala were revealed to be part of the list, the word ‘due process’ suddenly became part of Aquino’s vocabulary,” said Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairman.
“For Aquino, this scam is all about destroying potential opponents of his party in the 2016 elections and is never about getting justice,” said Roger Soluta, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Soluta said Aquino has given Napoles all the special treatment that she could get. “From a presidential welcome at the Malacañang when she surrendered to a special private house instead of an ordinary prison cell, and now, a month’s stay in a hospital,” Soluta said.
Napoles personally surrendered to the President last year. From Camp Crame, Napoles was committed to Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and not in an ordinary jail.
Jail the thieves
NardySabino, covener of the Church Peoples’ Alliance against Pork Barrel said thieves should be in jail and should not be receiving any special treatment from the government.
“When an ordinary thief gets caught he or she is immediately brought to jail and placed with other criminals. They are cramped in a small cell, their food almost like ‘kaning baboy’ (leftover food being fed to pigs). They get sick and they are seldom treated,” said Sabino.
“But a thief like Napoles and plunderer like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are not. Arroyo is being detained in a hospital with air condition,” he added.
“In the case of Andrea Rosal who is being accused by the AFP of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines, her baby died because she was detained in a cramped jail cell. But the thief, the mastermind of the pork barrel scam and others who are involved in corruption are enjoying comfortable lives in air conditioned rooms,” said Dr. Julie Caguiat of the Health Alliance for Democracy and convener of the RX Coalition Against Pork, a coalition of health workers against pork barrel.
Silvestre meanwhile called on the people to join the call for justice. “The money that was pocketed was ours. It should have been spent on social services like education and health.”
“The end is near for Aquino,” Crisostomo warned. “Soon as more of his allies appear in the long list of those who are involved in the scam, it will be harder for him to deny his involvement and knowledge about this systemic corruption. Soon it will be very clear to the public that Aquino is pork barrel king,” Crisostomo added.