The dates November 7 and 8, 2013 will be remembered by many as the days of abomination and devastation, respectively.
As much as the country wanted to hear from Janet Lim-Napoles bare the truth about the alleged P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam during her first attendance in the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the 7th, if only to enliven the dismaying mode of the Filipinos towards some members of congress, what the people got instead was more disillusionment and frustration as Napoles failed to satisfy the expectations of the citizenry.
Napoles was peppered with questions, cajoled to tell the truth, been asked to name Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile as the most guilty so she could still save herself, and even bluntly warned that she could be murdered for destroying people’s name and reputation, but all these went to no avail.
Her expressions, both facial and oral, were so repulsive, yet convincing, that you would know she was denying and lying through her teeth by playing dumb, amnesiac or parroting her right against self-incrimination.
Indeed, it was a sad day for the nation.
I could not agree more with some senators suggesting that perjury charges be filed against Napoles for brazenly lying under oath and be thrown to a regular jail instead of being treated like a special detainee confined in a special detention camp.
As disheartening as the Senate proceeding was, the nation was also, at the same time, disturbed and terrified at the on-rushing Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) that was to make landfalls in the Eastern Visayas region.
It just did that on the 8th, barreling its way towards Guiuan, in Eastern Samar, and Leyte, thence to the municipality of Daanbantayan and Bantayan Island on the northern island of Cebu and onwards to Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Semirara Island, the southern part of Mindoro Island, continuing its path to the West Philippine Sea, but not before leaving in its wake enormous destruction and lose of lives, especially in Tacloban City, in Leyte.
A Super Typhoon is the equivalent of a strong Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the Atlantic, or a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone in the Australian basin.
With winds of up to 315 kilometers per hour (195 miles per hour), and gusts of 380 kph (235 mph), Yolanda/Haiyan is thought to be the strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall anywhere in the world in recorded history.
Sad, though, that as dead bodies of people and animals were seen strewn everywhere and assistance was being extended to the victims by the local governments and good Samaritans, there have been reports of lawlessness with Tacloban residents looting commercial establishments.
Yolanda’s fury is showing the best and worst of some ordinary Filipinos, as is always the case even among the wealthy politicians of this country.
Very saddening, too, indeed.
What relates the Napoles’ denials and Yolanda’s fury to one another that makes it more sickening and revolting to the populace is that at a time when the spirit is low, bewildered, miserable and lost, and when our so-called public servants – our country’s congressmen and senators – could have pooled together their PDAF allocations instead of scandalously squandering it, they could have shown a ray of hope to the victims of utmost disasters, like those in Bohol and more recently in Tacloban, that there is readily help coming to recover and rehabilitate their lives and rebuild the places wrecked havoc by the natural forces.
Alas, with the PDAF and even the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the president in question and under investigation because of the scam it has created, there is more concern and anxiety harbored by the residents of the stricken places.
We have finally come to realize now how important and utile the funding of government are, but how worthless it becomes, when and if left in the hands of unscrupulous leaders, lawmakers and politicians.