Senate report – will it be ‘hearsay’?

Senate report – will it be ‘hearsay’?

After Malacanang has conveniently called the WB report as hearsay, what will stop it again to call that of the Senate report as thread from the same cloth? In recommending plunder charges against Joc Joc Bolante et al in the P728 million fertilizer fund mess, the Senate committee that held several public hearings, is deemed to have finally concluded its avowed congressional inquiry – in aid of legislation.

As a result, we expect any number of amendatory bills to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 and its IRR; the Procurement Act; the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act; the General Appropriations Act; and the Senate Rules of Procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation (on direct contempt). If that is not buckling down to work in so far as the good Senator Gordon is concerned, I don’t know what is.

For Sen. Mar Roxas alone, the 130-page report ‘illustrates the system of syndicated corruption in the government that flourished under President Arroyo’. And what was he quoted of having said but this – “Ang katiwalian sa gobyerno ay paulit-ulit na nating napatunayan at itong fertilizer scam na ito ay ipinakita kung paanong manipulahin ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan ang sistema para manakawan nila ang kaban ng bayan”?

On a long shot, Gordon would rather want the post of the Ombudsman as elective rather than appointive so the occupant of that office does not have to be beholden to the appointing authority and thereby enjoy its institutional independence. Fact is, flash Gordon wants to flush out Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez from her office for inaction after about 1,300 days have lapsed since she received the report of Task Force Abono as early as June 2006 – but did nothing. Her investigators found a 200 to 300 per cent overpricing in the purchase of said farm equipments let alone no public bidding was ever held for the purpose.

It ought to give a sigh of relief to know that the panel in the Senate that investigated Joc Joc et al finally came to the conclusion that plunder charges have two legs to stand on. Certainly, the committee chair did not fail to see GMA’s liability under the so-called ‘doctrine of qualified political agency’. But since this position could be merely inferential, it appears that Gordon does not have to really pursue a case against GMA but more effectively against Joc Joc et al, who in this case, are the ‘adjuncts’ of the executive department.

It is hoped that Sen. Gordon is at liberty to initiate steps toward the filing of appropriate charges against Joc Joc and 8 others if such Senate report can be given any legal weight. It has always worries us how Malacanang can always resort to every form of oblique intellectual subterfuge, call it that – courtesy of its spinmeisters as Ding Gagelonia loves to use the term.

The good thing about committee works in general is the fact that at least, there are those who could really complete the whole cycle of investigation in the best democratic fashion. If we even have to compare that with the way another Senate committee investigated another scam with even more serious and far-reaching repercussions, that of Gordon is deemed to have succeeded.

There will be a never-ending stream of scams that will keep congressional bodies busy up until 2010. Viewed differently, when these issues are being discussed in every public forum available, the protagonists as so do the apologists perhaps, in a controversy – afford themselves – that free publicity that can improve their chances to win a seat in the Senate or in Congress. And it can go either way – good or bad – and Pichay for instance always finds himself in the ‘wrong side of history’.

In this prevailing scheme and scene, the public has got to be fully aware of the issues of the day than what they are being able to view from TV, hear from radio, read from newspapers, and gather from all other means like maybe internet or blogosphere. We do know that there will always be a situation of so-called “feeding frenzy” in media. But so be it. The people have an easier way of knowing how ready-made menus – as if it were – have been cooked.

The prescribed term of office of GMA is coming to a close. The mad race for a charter change has a very dim future that even a last-ditch effort will not usher in GMA’s post-presidency redemption. As a people, Filipinos are known to be too kind but on the other hand, if terribly abused, they too can be rather ruthless. The best and last option may end up in frustration in so far as GMA is concerned.

In other words, as one scam after another is being discussed in the light of day, this tends to crystallize even magnify all the bad and evil acts that must have been committed by those in high office. And accordingly, people tend to militate against those who perpetuate a regime of greed, abuse, and more importantly, misuse of taxpayers money. Thus, we see that of Danny Lim’s paid ad – a manifesto from the military elites endorsing him for senator – as though he can bring about the desired change a la Charles de Gaulle. That bid must have been over-inflated by a purely military cliché that wants another senator elected in jail. That of CJ Puno – on the other hand is rather over-deflated by its own sense of naivety and mediocrity.