The justice department, together with the NBI and whistleblowers in the P10 billion pork barrel scam, charged today, Sept. 16, with plunder senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada. Alleged pork barrel mastermind businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and 34 others, including several former members of Congress, were also charged. If the charges against the three senators are validated, arrest warrants can be issued and they can be jailed later even while cases against them are being heard in court.
Why is the legal action against Enrile and company very important to all Pinoys, including those at work overseas? I see several reasons:
1] The gutsy government move will strike fear to grafters currently stealing taxpayers’ money. Why? Simple! If veteran politicians, like Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, have been charged, it means the government won’t hesitate hitting lesser or minor grafters.
2. The incidence of graft and corruption will be reduced in the short, medium and long-term. Why? With grafters fearful of being prosecuted and jailed, they are likely to scale down or even stop their thievery of public coffers.
3. People with plans to commit graft may abandon what they’ve got in mind. Better to play safe than risk getting jailed.
4. The government’s anti-corruption campaign gets a strong boost and it will encourage public support to the anti-graft campaign.
5. Public interest in the anti-graft fight is heightened. With this, more people will get involved in the anti-graft fight, especially with the use of Facebook and other social media.
6. Public clamor for the adoption of a Freedom of Information Law will get stronger as greater transparency in government transactions will help reduce graft.