“Erap Estrada’s Defense”
“Erap Estrada’s Defense”
By Arturo P. Garcia
The Napoles List is out. I mean the signed affidavit of Janet Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the scams in the current BS Aquino III administration.
The so called Napoles list, meaning the final signed affidavit that included this time new names of both old and new lawmakers who supposed to have received payment or acted as agents fo Napoles in her systematic and elaborate scam have raised a howl on all quarters, everywhere for every other reasons.
But I will discuss today the Napoles defense that is akin or the defense of former President Joseph Estrada when he underwent a a 6-year trial for plunder during the GMA administration. And then just to be pardoned by the same president who persecuted him.
Estrada’s defense is simple. That the “hweteng” or the lottery number games money he gave to himself and his ilk is not public funds but private funds therefore it is not plunder. It did not come from government coffers but were funds that came from private sources chiefly bets from the common people.
If you are a simpleton and ignorant of the law, you will swallow this defense hook like and sinker. Estrada says, he never stole people’s money because the money is not stolen anyways from the people. Those are bets. Even before that he proposed to legalize hweteng so the government can tax it. And when it was not approved as a law, he proceeded to take it fro himself.
It is the same as Janet Napoles defense that “she followed the rules and formed NGO because it was DBM Secretary Butch Abad who told her to do that so she can get funding fromPDAF and the Malamapaya fund.”
Therefore she only followed the rules, right. But how about the faking of things non-existing non-government organizations mostly farmers organizations. Does she means to say DBM’s bad also taught her to fake such NGO’s?
She defended herself saying that she is “only a simple woman.” But how about her extravagance and her children and family’s ostentatious living and flaunting such riches abroad and in the Philippines? Is that being simple?
Erap Estrada, (now Mayor of Manila ), has also crooked thinking like Janet Napoles up to now says “He was not convicted.” And the other hand, he admits “ he was jailed and is “ a martyr for a cause like Nelson Mandela.” A direct contradiction of what he was saying he was never convicted.
His son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada also parrot the same line. And is flaunting he is not afraid to go to jail “ because he has been in jail once.” He is now one of the trio who is facing new charges of plunder at the Sandiganbayan.
Janet Napoles parrots the Erap Estrada’s defense. But she forget one essential rule of law. That “ignorance of the law excuses no one.”
I do not fault Erap Estrada because once former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr ( now being implicated by Janet Napoles as a beneficiary of PDAF) said:
“ I was struck by the reasoning of Erap. But I do not fault him. He is a simple man and that’s explains it.What is wrong is that we elected a president who do not have an understanding of the law.”
But on the case of Napoles, I fault the lawyers who advised her to say that under oath in a signed affidavit.
Well, in any revolution, the first to be eliminated are the lawyers who find any convenient reasons to get their client s off the hook and earn their pay. Even some wags says, if we get rid of lawyers, this world would be a better place to live in.
But it boil down to Erap and Napoles who reason with the law, who think they are a above the law and when confronted with the majesty of the law are can be found wanting.
They forget the lady justice is blindfolded and they will be weighed according to their words, deeds and can be punished by what they have done.