This development where a group of presidents from four top Philippine universities and colleges have come out with a statement condemning the alleged misuse of taxpayers’ money in the P10 billion pork barrel scam and urging people in all sectors of society to get involve in expediting the investigation is, indeed, a shot in the arm for every Filipino clamoring for a better Philippines.
The statement was signed by Presidents Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, of Ateneo de Manila University; Bro. Ricardo P. Laguda, FSC, of De La Salle University; Rosario O. Lapus PhD, of Miriam College; and Alfredo E. Pascual of University of the Philippines.
They called on those concerned “to take a keen interest in, and to patriotically support, the emergence of the truth and the requisite acts of justice and reparation that must follow from the truth.”
“We ask the institutions tasked by law to ensure transparency and accountability in public service to expedite their investigations of the Napoles-related abuse of public funds and all other such cases of thievery in public service. We insist that the appropriate cases against public officials involved in corruption and plunder be filed and prosecuted with the dispatch due not only the accused and the respondents but the aggrieved and victimized nation even more,” the group said.
Seeing, perhaps, the credibility and contriteness of Ruby Tuason, herself an accused in the multi-billion pork barrel scam, when her conscience could no longer take it and decided to return to the Philippines to tell all as a state witness and return some P40 million to the government in exchange for immunity, the school officials felt it was high time to summon the support of the citizenry to pressure the appropriate courts to move faster and go after the culprits earnestly.
In her affidavit, Tuason confirmed that she personally delivered kickbacks to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Both Estrada and Enrile have denied Tuason’s claims.
But, the more Estrada and Enrile deny, the more they are put on the spot. It there were pieces of jigsaw puzzle missing in Benhur Luy’s testimony against the implicated senators, Tuason is now filling it up with her troubled conscience.
One can only consider what Tuason said, about why she decided to stand before the world and publicly confess that she had been party to large-scale corruption: She was doing it for her grandchildren. “I do not want them to hate me when they grow up, because they would be told by friends that their grandmother did something very wrong.” She also said: “I do not want to be an embarrassment to my grandchildren and children. I am so ashamed of myself that I have to do something to correct what I have done.”
That the call for a speedy investigation and prosecution of the culprits in the PDAF scam, and all other scams for that matter, which have defrauded government and disadvantaged many of the poor Filipinos, is initiated by a group of highly respected school leaders must be a cue that we should all come out with our voices being heard in support for the call so the wheels of justice will move faster and stern lessons can be learned.