The quote of the day from Thursday’s Senate Blue Ribbon hearing was Sen. Miriam Santiago’s "Ignorance can be treated, but stupid is forever. "
Santiago was spot on in her observation that Napoles could not be stupid considering the pork barrel operator’s rise from her humble beginnings in Basilan to her being filthy rich today. In a press conference, Santiago said she thinks Napoles’ gall diverting money intended for the poor to private pockets of lawmakers, government officials as well as hers comes from ignorance. She said Napoles is used to cutting deals and she thinks she will be able to get away with plunder, which could put her in prison for 20 to 40 years, by cutting another deal.
One of those who monitored the hearing, Ginny Fabie, a member of the Concerned Citizens Movement, observed that Santiago used military interrogation tactics. Scaring her one moment (“Gusto nilang patayin ka, andiyan sa utak mong ‘yan ang pagkakasira ng, di lamang kayaman, pati buhay nila. Importante malagyan duct tape ang mukha mo” ) and giving her advice to turn state witness another moment after she got the businesswoman to admit that she is not the most guilty (“Gantihan mo na habang buhay ka pa.”)
Santiago even named who is supposed to be the most guilty: "Kung si Enrile ang pinaka-guilty, sabihin mo na para di ka niya ipapatay... Huwag mong i-underestimate si Enrile. May asim pa si tanda."
Senate hearing. Photo by Voltaire Domingo NPPA Images. From Yahoo.Fabie said she was “boiling mad” watching the hearing. “This woman is maabilidad masyado… She pretends many times not to have any concept of what’s being asked. She’s a goddam liar. No trace of remorse . Walang takot dahil malakas ang backer nito.”
Fabie is asking Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to pass a law that would impose heavy penalty on those who commit perjury. “They are making a mockery of the law. Let’s put an end to it. Perjury cuts both ways- makes or breaks people’s fates even that of the country.”
Former Negros Occidental (5th district) Representative Apolinario “Jun “ Lozada Jr. said he was bored with the Senate hearing. As expected Napoles “stuck to her story to protect her congressional clients. “
He said it was “ a waste of time and money. Let the wheels of justice na lang.”
Lawyer Joel Butuyan said the Senate and the public were expecting Napoles to spill the beans in the hope that: 1) she has a conscience; 2) sense of patriotism; 3) sense of decency.
But, he said, “All these she doesn’t have based on the scams she has perpetrated all these years.”
Butuyan said the government will not get any cooperation from Napoles if it continues to hope based on these non-existent premises. “So as expected, Napoles did not volunteer anything,” he observed.
Butuyan is in favor of making Napoles a state witness: “The government must consider at this point that it has to give Napoles as reason/motivation for her to cooperate, other than hoping that she will turn conscience-stricken, or suddenly become patriotic. The government must consider offering her to become state witness.”
He said he knows it’s very unpopular. “But it has to be explained to the people that this is a once in a lifetime chance to try to destroy some of these political dynasties. If we imprison Napoles, there will be others who will take up her role later on. However, imagine if she spills the beans, we will have a chance at stopping these family dynasties who have perpetrated a stranglehold on Philippine politics for so many decades. Imagine also the psychological fear that will be imprinted in the minds of both present and future politicians if we obtain a mass obliteration of trapo politicians if Napoles names all the names she has dealt with.”
“It is a political culture-changing opportunity looking at the big picture, bird’s eye view. The country will far obtain bigger and far lasting benefits if it gets Napoles to become state witness than by just getting her convicted.”