'Politically motivated' does not acquit a criminal
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-02-09

The single biggest cause of poverty in our country is not the lack of gold in the pocket of the poor but the lack of enlightenment in their minds. Our poor can hardly discern who their real saviors are from those who will promise to be their saviors and end up being their biggest exploiters.

The Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada presidencies — both ousted from office by People Power — are the best examples of that. Marcos was supposed to make our nation great again. Estrada was supposed to bring the poor out of poverty. They both did the opposite.

The INFORMATION and EDUCATION Gaps produced that sorry state of the poor Filipino’s mind. Our poor folks are easily fooled and are unable to sense the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Many times, they are impressed by glib shysters and cannot see the sincerity of the more deserving candidates.

Not so honest and not so earnest media practitioners promote this very damaging syndrome. Many of the twisted logic and outright lies being peddled by crooks are being given credence by these media practitioners. In countries like the United States, a lot of the bovine ordure that finds itself on front pages and broadcast banner news stories are attacked by media itself and the promoter of twisted logic is called to task.

If Barack Obama as 2008 presidential candidate espoused the kind of defense and logic which Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manny Villar exhibited in the Senate to escape accountability for the C-5 controversy, he would have lost the election to John McCain. No way will the American public and responsible media allow that excuse of Villar to be used in their country to escape accountability.

Personal or political motivation does not and cannot justify the junking of charges when there is strong evidence and probable cause of wrong doing. If Villar’s tack on the C-5 issue is to become the norm for dispensing justice, all Marlene Aguilar, mother of road rage murder suspect Jason Ivler, has to do is say that the arresting NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) agents hated her son.

If Villar’s use of personal and political motivation is to become a new legal basis for escaping accountability, the same excuse can used by Ben Abalos for the ZTE scandal, by Jocjoc Bolante for the Fertilizer Scam, by Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for all the grievous sins she committed against the Filipino people.

So what if political motivation or personal motivation made somebody present a case of plunder, murder or rape against another person. If there was indeed a case of plunder, murder or rape — it matters not if what brought it out into the open was political or personal motivation. What matters is that justice is served and the criminal is prosecuted.

And yet, from his own mouth, Manny Villar openly espoused this excuse to escape accountability for the C-5 issue with all its 900 pages of documents that supported the Senate Majority Report. Not only was his defense totally inane and irrelevant, he did not even have the guts to face interpellation.

The most pathetic sight in that sorry episode in the Senate was the phalanx of defenders of Manny Villar that echoed the twisted logic that was being passed off as legitimate defense. The most prominent of Villar’s defenders in the Senate may not have realized the political fallout they suffered for defending what many perceive as corruption and for instigating a session boycott just to protect a suspect.

Already, Villar’s obscene election spending alarms a lot of people. Last Thursday, Sonia Roco expressed that on an ABS-CBN TV Patrol interview in Taguig. Sonia Roco asked how Villar will recoup the billions that he is spending to try to win the 2010 presidency. Sonia Roco was fearful of the expected return on investment, especially since Villar is a businessman.

A friend who is familiar with Villar’s real estate business track record mentioned that Villar is used to getting a 500 times return on investment. He would buy raw land at P40 per square meter, get the government to build a major road to go through the property and then resells the lots for at least P2, 000 per square meter. Going by that yardstick, if Villar spends P10 billion to win the 2010 presidential election — a P5 trillion return on investment is in order.

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Ces Drilon on the issue of his immense level of advertising spending, Villar claimed that he does not need to recoup all that money and that he is just out to serve the people. If that was Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto talking and if he was not spending his own money — yes we can believe that. Tony Meloto has a long track record of giving and sharing without counting the cost, without seeking rest or reward.

But Manny Villar is not Tony Meloto. Manny Villar is a businessman and a businessman thinks in terms of return on investment and not in terms of psychic rewards and spiritual sanctification.

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