On interest derived from the PDAF principal, asset sequestration, and “trial by batches”

The multi-billion peso in the pork barrel scam is only the principal amount. When was it missing — somewhere between 2007 and 2009? That’s around five years ago. How much is the interest on the amount now? Which is why the scammers could very well buy a whole nation and that’s from the interest alone!

Speaking of properties and assets, how come the IAGCC hasn’t yet frozen the physical assets of Napoles and public officials involved in the scam? These should already be put under State custody along with the financial assets derived from their investment of the principal amount, their bank accounts and such in other words. Along this line too is the supposedly ban on foreign travel for human assets critical to the case but who have already left the country. We’ve seen this flight pattern before and here it is again. 

And why is the DOJ/IAGCC filing the case in batches? Is that even legal and fair? If I were among the first batch, I will question the DOJ: by what criteria am I judged so as to be among the top priority for prosecution? Am I the greater sinner than the others in the second and third and so forth batches who are accused of the same crime? I have the right to know the Court’s criteria. And the criteria and how it has arrived at these better be good. Otherwise this – so called trial by batches – violates my right to a fair trial.

Apparently, the criteria according to an article in the Daily Tribune 

the Department of Justice or its adjunct, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), would have to undertake case sampling which means that charges, likely plunder cases, to be filed would be done in batches, with those qualified for plunder allegations of more than P50 million likely to be those in the lead pack… De Lima said in the Senate hearing that the first batch of those to be filed cases would be based on the testimonies of whistle-blowers…

But how come, pre-trial, the DOJ already knows the exact amount plundered by each of the total 270+ public officials who are allegedly involved in the scam? And the testimonies of whistle blowers as criteria is tantamount to conviction even before any trial is held. We have to remember that these testimonies were made outside of the trial or before any trial has been filed against the accused meaning these testimonies still have to undergo the test of cross-examination during the trial. Besides, does it always follow that one who plundered more than 50 million pesos is the greater sinner? What if he or she is merely the keeper used by the greater sinner who was wise enough to not have reported too much cash on him or her? Which is why the criteria mentioned above cannot stand.   

DOJ should charge the accused all at once and from there weed out who are the principals or masterminds of the scam from the accomplices, etc. The so-called trial by batch approach takes away from all the accused their right to equality before the law. And we all know that the verdict of any trial that violates this right is void.

The DOJ/IAGCC should get this issue straighten out even before its filing of the case on Monday. I am all for the trial of the pork barrel scammers but I am also for justice and justice says everyone who appears before the court, guilty or not guilty in the eyes of God, has the right to a fair trial.  

Post-script: If there is only one or two left in the Senate and Congress because of this plunder of public money, so be it. That is what weeding does is it not? Having one or two good people left won’t disable the Senate and Congress. It will on the other hand renew it to a new start. What will destroy the Senate and Congress is for the bad weeds to overpower and choke the good grass to death which is precisely what the scam is about essentially.   

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