By BENJIE OLIVEROS
People despise Janet Lim-Napoles, this writer included, for what she has done: for facilitating the theft of billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money in the Priority Development Assistance fund scam. While the Filipino people suffer from lack of essential social services, expensive yet deteriorating power and water services, breakdowns of commuter trains, bumpy roads, traffic, etc., lawmakers and high government officials have been helping themselves in stealing the hard-earned money of the people, which they turned over to the government in the form of taxes.
However, one could not help but recognize the masterful stroke delivered by the camp of Napoles. Perhaps not content with the VIP treatment given to Napoles by the Aquino government – from fetching and bringing her to Malacañang to ‘surrender’, to ensuring her safety and security by no less than President Aquino himself, to providing her with a one-floor flat as her jail cell, with a food taster to boot – and wanting to ensure that she does not get buried deep, figuratively and literally, for acting as conduit to the grand theft and plunder of the national coffers, she spilled the beans on the president’s men, nay his most trusted partner Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad. The political impact of implicating Secretary Abad is devastating to the Aquino government.
The Aquino government has been propelled to and has maintained itself in power by projecting an image of good governance and a strong anti-corruption drive. By implicating in a corruption scam no less than the holder of the government purse and Aquino’s most trusted and powerful Cabinet member who acts as his alter ego (more than the president’s executive secretary and spokesperson), Napoles could bring down the whole Aquino administration. Now, after being denied of her bid to become state witness, which could have provided her immunity from suit, the camp of Napoles announced that they would henceforth withhold the evidences in their possession. This is political blackmail, no doubt, but undeniably an effective one. The lawyers of Napoles also said that they are still “open” to working with the Aquino administration, but only a fool would not be able to guess what her conditions would be.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III immediately dismissed the accusations against Abad and his other Cabinet secretaries. That is expected of him. By doing so he is not only saving Abad and his friends and allies, he is saving himself. The Aquino government would crumble with Abad’s downfall.
So is Budget Secretary Abad guilty?
The situation is much like Schrodinger’s cat paradox. One could not ascertain it precisely unless the box is opened. But now Napoles has hidden the key to the box thereby putting the Aquino government in a fix.
For as long as the box has not been opened, Secretary Abad is both guilty and not guilty, at the same time.
It is highly improbable that the box would ever be opened at all – since whether or not the Aquino government is able to strike a deal with Napoles, the box would most likely remain locked. If no deal is cemented, Napoles would keep the box as leverage against the Aquino government. If they come to an agreement, the Aquino government, in turn, would bury the box. If ever the Aquino government makes a show of opening the box, one could no longer ascertain whether or not the contents have been tampered with.