The PDAF scam also brings to fore the role Filipino women played and continue to play in the corruption case, as used or user, or perhaps both. Their decisions and actions give rise to certain questions: When power is in a woman’s hands, what will she do with it? When she’s powerless, how will she go about acquiring power? These lead to the ultimate question, would she, in the process, have become the very monster under her bed, meaning, the kind of men she and the sisterhood were rah-rah-ing against?
Janet Napoles has to make a decision, eventually. And that decision, I imagine, would, at the heart, reflect her own unique brand as a woman – her leanings, belief, attitude, perspective – relative to the men and other women who, up to that moment, played significantly in the shaping of her. Martha Stewart redeemed herself by going through the consequence of her guilt.
To be kept in jail, without a verdict of your guilt not even a formal case against you, is the way of victimhood. To walk into this jail without putting up resistance for the injustice of it is suicide. To the sisterhood, it means yet another victimization of the gender. Fight. Tell your side of the story. Let it out. In the proper venue. Doing this is primarily for your own sake. Nobody has your protection at the topmost of their mind. But You. Woman.
I believe Martha Stewart had hers as top priority when she and her lawyers shaped her case and negotiated. Because at the end of her prison term, freedom in all its newness was hers.
I’m presenting another side of Janet Napoles’ case. Hers is not unique though. The former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in a similar situation. She has been in hospital arrest for some time and it appears the courts are content with that. But, that’s not justice. And when I say justice I mean it for both sides: the accused and the victims. The longer the accused is kept in jail without the benefit of trial – it’s illegal by the way – the longer the victims agonize over what should be. The treatment, as this article points out, is especially significant for women given the historical struggle of the sisterhood for equality, power, etc. The impact is a double-edged sword to women. The number of women in power may have relatively increased but the rules that have kept them in their places remain. Maybe not as overt as in the past but still there, in subtle forms.