What is being hyped-up to be the top blockbuster-hit for the season is the soon to be “live broadcast” scheduled appearance of Janet Napoles, aka “the pork barrel queen,” at the senate plenary hall on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. She has been subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to shed light on their on-going investigation and share what she knows of ghost projects funded by the PDAF of Congressmen and Senators through NGO’s allegedly controlled by her. The Senate is investigating, ostensibly “in aid of legislation,” the misuse of PDAF by legislators in connivance with officials of the Executive Branch and bogus NGO’s. It is, however, common knowledge that Congress uses the power to investigate for purposes other than to aid them in their job of crafting laws. Given the accompanied live broadcast coverage of most of these investigations, the legislators have been seen to use it to get back at, or attack, their enemies and discredit them in front of a large audience; to grandstand and play to the gallery; and sometimes, yes, in aid of legislation…if we’re lucky.
“Your honor, I would like to invoke my right against self incrimination” or words along that line is what we can expect to hear, not a few times, coming from Napoles’ mouth. Envisage also “dagger looks” between her and the whistle blowers; and if not a shrieking cry, at least a few tears here and there will be shed. Rule of thumb for the Senators would be: the harsher you are towards Janet, the more you will be perceived as having had no dealings with her in the past — Drilon will be watched with hawk eyes in that respect. Guingona will be balancing his act between Liberal Party team player and independent leader with possibilities of a higher position come 2016. Senator Binay would be participating “in aid of a presidentiable” and could slip her tongue and be obvious about it. And Secretary Roxas will be present in spirit if not in fingerprints all over the “air.”
There will be plenty of exaggerated praises for the whistle blowers –- themselves, participants in multiple crimes for over a decade — who, in turn, will be made to believe that the concerns of the senators for their safety go beyond using them as props in projecting their own respective images far divorced from their true selves. Napoles may need to go to the clinic once or twice for the duration of the hearing. And finally, professional moralists and self anointed keepers of “civil society’s rules of conduct” will be among the audience in the gallery looking more popish than the pope, causing the rest of the crowd that were there for less “lofty” reasons to be embarrassed for them.
In other words, expect this to be a circus, but not of the Cirque de Solei type — sans animals; on the contrary, karamihan na kasama sa circus na ito ay mga animal. It will be inclusive of crocodiles, pigs, snakes, clowns, and possibly some of their spouses and guests seated at the VIP area. There will be plenty of backhanded jibes and cryptic allusions made by the Senators that will be the topic of pundits the following day identifying who was alluded to, and for what “sins” he or she committed, and the motives behind them. This could also be a prelude to what the picture will look like for the 2016 presidential elections even if in politics, things can change 180 degrees overnight. Ask Senator Enrile.
The security for Napoles will be extensive and when added to the security of each Senator, the security of the whistle blowers, and the in-house security of the Senate building itself, the place could look like a military garrison. Add to that the droves of media people that will crowd the building all the way to the parking lot and you know the circus has come to town. This promises to be bigger than CJ Corona’s day of reckoning that took place in the very same venue but in this case, three of the Senators that have already been charged with the Ombudsman, will be the one’s eventually judged and they can only hope they will not be judged by people that can be bribed or bought. Life is, indeed, a series of ironies.