By Ellen Tordesillas
Former Isabela Governor and newly appointed commissioner of the Commission on Election posted the following reply to those who are criticizing her for accepting bail money from President Aquino. She cited this particular tweet: " "Grace Padaca's acceptance of bail money and refusing to subject herself to investigation speaks volumes of her character."
"If i have done things the usual way, i would not have fought the dynasty in Isabela and win.
"If i were afraid like other people were, If i thought of my comfort and safety more than other people's troubles and sufferings, yes, i would have done what was usual and ordinary - go to court quietly and immediately in order to post bail before the media finds out that i have a pending warrant of arrest.
"Being me, being Grace, I took the road less travelled. I opened myself to the possibility of being picked up by the police because i had a message that needed to be loudly told. Hence the overnight bag in the car that has been there for four months.
"If u want rotten things to remain the same, oh dear, that's easy. Do things the usual and predictable way. Safe ka pa. Hindi ka pa lalaitin, babatikusin at huhusgahan.
"I am Grace Padaca. You dont know me."
It's neither here nor there.
The issue is not her courage in battling the Dy dynasty. The issue here is she has been appointed to a Constitutional Commission, which the Constitution says, "shall be independent."
By accepting money from the President to pay her bail, doesn't it make Padaca beholden to the President? If she doesn't have the good sense or the sensitivity to see mistake in what she did, I'm worried of her "fairness" as Comelec commissioner.
I have been an admirer of Padaca for daring to go against the Isabela dynasty build by the Dy family. Thwarted by what was seen as an electoral manipulation in 2001, Padaca, a former broadcaster, finally made it as governor against Faustino "Bojie" Dy III in 2004.
In 2010, however, Dy won. But the fight between Padaca and Dy didn't end there.
Early this year, Padaca was charged with graft for allegedly giving undue advantage to EDWINLFI, a non-government organization tapped to manage a P25 million credit facility for Isabela's rice farmers under a hybrid seed distribution program without public bidding.
Padaca argued that a bidding was not required for the project and the government was not put in a disadvantage by the deal.
The Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant for her last May and imposed a P70,000 bail.
Padaca, in protest, purposely did not post bail. She was not arrested, however, although she never went into hiding.
After appointing her last week, President Aquino gave Padaca P70,000 from his own personal funds for her bail clearing her of the graft charges.
"She looked for a way to bring down the interest rate to about one and a half percent and that helped her countrymen. If that is graft and corruption, she should have benefited personally from it. But the ones who benefited from the project were her countrymen and she should be commended for that," Aquino in defense of Padaca.
Has Aquino forgotten that as President he heads the executive branch of the government. He is not a judge. He is not the court, which is the one who will decide whether Padaca is guilty or not.
As president, Aquino's duty is to "execute its laws." It doesn't mean that he can take a short cut and arrogate the powers of the court to himself.