There is no doubt that the latest Sandiganbayan’s ruling convicting businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the mastermind of the multi-billion-peso lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, and acquitting former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla surely leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many Filipinos.
It was not so much that Napoles got nailed, as she had it unmistakably coming, but finding a trusted staff in the person of Richard Cambe blameworthy than Revilla and adjudged equally as guilty as Napoles is simply beyond logic.
Why, what has happened to the popular tenet of command responsibility expected of those in power, position and influence, whether in the military or civilian setting, who has under them loyal subordinates who are now in hot water blindly following the bidding of their superiors?
What I am saying is that if Revilla has the unfortunate Cambe who has been sentenced to ‘reclusion perpetua’ or 40 years imprisonment, so too has former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, also implicated in the same corruption scandal but out on bail, a trusting soul in the person of his chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, who continues to languish in her detention cell at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Taguig City, when her petition for bail was denied by the Sandiganbayan citing strong pieces of evidence about her participation in the so-called PDAF or “pork barrel” scam.
Command responsibility is about leadership and leadership is about being able to admit and accept failure and being able to take the blame for it instead of passing the blame to others. Worse still is being silent about it to save ones skin.
There could not be a better example of who should possess this remarkable trait of a leader than in our public officials, like congressmen and senators, who are tasked to serve the people.
But, alas, public servants they no longer are because instead of teaching and practicing values-based leadership, corruption has become the norm and excellence the exception.
We understand that public officials the likes of a congressman or a senator manages a large workforce and deals with numerous complex problems and so the more they should be vigilant that things won’t get out of control because the repercussion could be detrimental and far reaching.
Congressmen and senators have all the resources in their hands to ensure that plans, programs and projects benefitting the country and its people, especially the poor, will come to fruition.
But the same resources, however, can be used wittingly by unscrupulous public officials who stand to gain vast monetary advantages because of their complicity at the expense of those they promised to serve and without regard to command responsibility simply because they make sure that the dots won’t connect to make them liable and culpable.
Such is the case of this on-going episode of the infamous pork barrel scam by public servants.