It looks like the ongoing Napoles drama is going to claim a good government official in the person of National Bureau of Investigation Director Nonnatus Rojas. He has submitted his irrevocable resignation to the President but there is an effort by some people like his boss, Secretary Leila de Lima, to urge the President not to accept the resignation. She forgets that what Rojas submitted was an irrevocable resignation—there is no need for the President to accept.
I agree that the low-key and soft-spoken Rojas did the only honorable thing by resigning. We know that the President has the habit of publicly expressing his displeasure with government agencies that he believes are not up to his standards. This is demoralizing to many. He has done this, for instance, in the case of the National Irrigation Administration, the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Customs.
So when the President said that he smelled a rat in the NBI, Director Rojas took the message and resigned. I hope that he will stand by his action and not be “persuaded” to stay.
Perhaps, Secretary De Lima should also take the hint and do a Rojas. After all, she was totally blinded during the surrender negotiations of Janet Napoles and was only informed after the surrender. Others may see this as a slap on the face but De Lima does not interpret it this way.
Others who are similarly situated should do the same. Should the President have handled the surrender personally and escorted Napoles to Camp Crame? I believe it was ill-advised. He should have turned over the whole thing to the professionals like the Police because the case is so controversial and political. He and Secretary Roxas should just have called PNP Chief General Alan Purisima and turned Napoles over to him.
Now, the Palace cannot escape the accusations that a deal might have been struck. The handling of the surrender does open up a lot of questions. That newspaper photo in the Palace showing Napoles with Secretary Ochoa is disturbing because of reports of previous dealings between him and Napoles. Secretary Ochoa should not have been there. And now there are reports of 2,000 hectares going to the brother-in-law which is now being denied by the Palace.
Anyhow, I do not think that all these negative reports about Secretary Ochoa will put a dent on his standing with the President. He has become the indispensable hand of the President. You might say that he is the President’s Rasputin.
Is it right that Napoles be isolated from the rest of the prison population? I believe so. It is better for detainees like her to be isolated for safety reasons and is not a form of special treatment. We must bear in mind that she has a lot of stories to tell and we want her to be able to tell them all. Having said that, there is too much attention being paid to useless details about her detention in Sta. Rosa.
I think it’s about time that reporters do more substantive sleuthing to find out more about the story. There is still a lot to uncover. They should talk less about whether Napoles had a good night’s sleep or not.
Another thing that came out was the revelation that Napoles gave a sizable contribution to the Aquino, Estrada and Villar campaigns. The Palace vehemently denies this. I do not know whether there was also a denial from the Estrada and Villar camp.
But what is so preposterous is the entry of the Commission on Elections into the case. The Comelec issued a statement that it would verify whether there was a report on a Napoles campaign contribution in the report submitted by the different candidates. The Comelec might really think that the public is so stupid to believe that these campaign expenditure reports are accurate and honest.
The Comelec should tell that to the Marines. It is public knowledge that campaign expenditure reports are underreported by 10 to 20 times. Economic planners love to say that the economy always grows faster during an election year, sometimes by 1 to 2 percentage points. Can the Comelec really expect the public to believe that a presidential candidate only spends P450 million?
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Unlike other heads of state, President Aquino would rather put the yellow ribbon on his left lapel rather than the Philippine flag. What’s with the yellow ribbon anyway and how should this be interpreted?
The yellow ribbon was the color symbol of his late mother, President Cory Aquino. Maybe his use of the yellow ribbon instead of our flag is a way of remembering his mother and what she stood for. The yellow color was her party color and was used as symbol during the fight against President Marcos in the dying years of martial law. It was also all over the metro area when the both the President’s parents were buried.
PNoy used the yellow ribbon during his campaign for the Presidency and continues to do so now that he is President as shown in a front page newspaper photograph last week.
I would like to think that his use of the ribbon instead of our flag shows nothing but a sincere desire to show and carry on with the legacy of his mother. It is not a divisive display that signifies that the “yellow army” is now at the helm of government. It should not be to demonstrate the them-and-us mentality.
Still, Mr. Aquino is now President of the whole Filipino nation, not just of his yellow followers. He must avoid sending wrong signals. Instead, he must make us believe that he is a unifying leader.