What Senate probe?
With the main character in a supposed-to-be grand zarzuela – not being present – what Senate probe can begin than a classic exercise in futility? Virtually, the whole officialdom of a rotten bureaucracy came to the feast, matter-of-factly, upon the invitation of the lady senator known for her candor (euphemism for notoriety). That police officer Dela Paz did not appear has just violated Miriam Santiago’s self-fulfilling prophecy. No doubt the gentleman will be cited for contempt that a warrant of arrest shall be issued shortly. Truly, this incident has no parallel in history – a summon, a subpoena, an invitation – not being honored by an officer of the PNP. Unless otherwise the absence of Dela Paz is shown to be borne out of justifiable cause, the PNP shall receive a mere peso in the next budget cycle as the retaliatory act of a wounded ego.
For reasons known only to her, lady Miriam invited practically all agencies and officials of government that an average mind may tend to think that if repeated, over and over, this might pose clear and present danger, national security wise. Is the Senate suffering from institutional neurosis as to have allowed an event that would bring together various heads of agencies on too trivial a matter – inquire into a Moscow incident – as though this is extremely remote in happenstance? What really is the point of everyone getting invited to the Senate for the act of an officer who went to the 77th Interpol General Assembly held in Russia? Common sense dictates that this is a useless overkill (euphemism for grandstanding).
Ironically, everything ought to have been clear upon Dela Paz’ arrival in Manila. He held a press con, briefly owned to his lapse in judgment. Was not the same line uttered by no less than the PGMA herself before a viewing Filipino public in the infamous Hello Garci scandal? What else is there to know about the money that was never probably spent because it was held frozen by the Russian custom or immigration authorities? When Moscow has let him off the hook, why do we have to throw another noose to Dela Paz in a manner designed to attract overwhelming public attention? Do we have a demented national psyche to even as much as allow an entirely useless trivia to unfold as though it deserves to be a big media event? What kind of national IQ do we have here?
Paradoxically, all sorts of accusations have already been heard from our politicians even before Dela Paz would have been allowed his day in court to say his piece, when crossed? A whole host of theories have been laid down that can explain the euro cop scandal in Moscow but probably none of them would be true as soon as the police officer opted to speak, scripted or not. Why this orgy? Is this the kind of scheme and scene that our politicians truly want to show to the younger segment of our population and for that matter to the world stage? What’s happening to the lady senator?
From where I stand, nothing is the matter with the comptroller of the PNP who is part of the delegation to the Interpol to have carried with him more euros than may be necessary as a contingency fund for the whole Filipino group in this global conference, bonded as he was as designated special disbursing officer of the PNP. That he failed to declare the amount to Russian authorities upon his arrival or departure, whatever, is probably not exactly a crime that would warrant detention in a foreign land – surely not in this case as such supposed-to-be expenditure is directly related to a participation in a global convention. Mathematically enough, if such amount of money or the P6.9 million is divided equally to 12 PNP participants for their fare tickets, hotel accommodations, meals, per diems or other authorized expenditures, then such amount is just about the average.
In fairness, Dela Paz has already clearly explained his position – it was a lapse – and he was apologetic for whatever embarrassment it could have possibly stirred. No one knows what that euro money is except him – be that contingency fund, cash advance, public money or private cash. No one knows for certain if that came from jueteng lords or a payola for the whole PNP delegation except him and it does not look like he will fail to explain in the clearest way possible. Truly, Dela Paz will cut clean, matter-of-factly except that the DILG secretary probably has thrown ink into the clear pond. Everyone in the bureaucracy, when caught on the spot, can offer only very limited explanation precisely because only Dela Paz can best explained what really happened. At the end of the day, what is important is that the money can be all accounted for, returned to the cash vaults of the PNP treasury if need be.
As FVR once said, let us all buckle down to work. That to me is the business of public service. So pray tell, Senate will now stop this whimsical probe and deem it closed. At the very least, nothing in aid of legislation can come out of it – just nothing. Candidly, let us first wrap up the 200 million peso Senate scandal involving the Senate President himself and make the report itself available in all public libraries. It’s politics stupid! Let us stop this political Russian roulette – now – so nothing can be the cause of national shame.
PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
UP Diliman, Quezon City