It looks like the grace of God continues to linger even after the pope has gone home.
We were all pleased to hear Pope Francis gave a piece of his mind that our country doesn’t deserve to have corrupt officials when he said: “It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.”
The more that we should all feel elated now that the Supreme Court (SC) has issued a thumbs up sign supporting the Ombudsman’s decision to charge Senator Jinggoy Estrada with plunder and 11 counts of graft in connection with the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or better known as pork barrel.
It must be remembered that the Ombudsman, on April 1, 2014, approved the filing of plunder and graft charges against Estrada and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., as well as alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, in the Sandiganbayan.
Some time in June 2014, however, Estrada asked the Supreme Court to stop the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the plunder and graft cases filed against him.
In a 65-page petition for certiorari, Estrada through lawyer Sabino Acut Jr. also asked the high court to nullify the joint resolution dated March 28, 2014 and June 4, 2014 issued by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales finding probable cause to prosecute him for plunder and violation of the anti-graft law.
“The continuation of further proceedings against Senator Estrada by the Office of the Ombudsman, which has been ousted of its jurisdiction by virtue of its violation of Senator Estrada’s constitutional rights, as well as the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan, will work injustice and cause grave and irreparable injury to him as he will be required to go through the hardship of submitting himself to trial , which would tend to render any judgment in this petition ineffectual,” the petition stated.
Apparently, this plea was not impressive and moving enough such that the SC voted 9-5 to dismiss Estrada’s motion for failure to substantiate the allegations in his petition.
Estrada allegedly received kickbacks amounting to P183.79 million; Enrile, P172.8 million, and Revilla, P224.5 million.
It may take time to hear the verdict, guilty or not, for these unscrupulous public servants, but hopefully whoever wins the presidency in 2016 election and beyond will have the political will to pursue the cases against the erring public officials if he has the interest of the nation and the welfare of the Filipino people foremost in his mind.
There is simply no room for mercy and compassion for people, especially government officials, who have made corruption as a corner stone of their public service.