No sacred cows for ‘Tres Marias’
The powerful female triumvirate tasked to investigate and prosecute the case of the abuse of pork barrel funds by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and her cohorts emerged as the netizens’ choice for the Inquirer’s Filipino of the Year 2013.
Tagged as the “Tres Marias” (Three Marys), the trio of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan is the force behind the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC).
“These women have the ‘balls’ that many politicians don’t,” a netizen who used the name @ispeakTwit said, explaining his vote on Twitter.
“Although the relief workers of all the typhoons and earthquake should be recognized for their work, one cannot help but be impressed by the efforts of Ms Morales, Ms De Lima and Ms Pulido-Tan. They have made the biggest impact on the future trajectory of Philippine politics and, thus, the [life] of every Filipino,” Twitter user @catmanjohn posted on the Inquirer website.
President Benigno Aquino III announced the creation of the IAAGCC in August 2013, a month after the Inquirer ran a series on the network of bogus nongovernment organizations allegedly used by Napoles to siphon off an estimated P10 billion in public funds.
The series of reports was based on the affidavits submitted by a group of whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy, a former employee and a relative of Napoles.
At their first press conference after the creation of the IAAGCC, De Lima, Morales and Pulido-Tan—then called “The Three Furies”—vowed that there would be “no sacred cows.”
“We will go where the evidence leads us,” De Lima told the media.
“We don’t have any record of being tools of anybody, to spare this fellow or spare that fellow and make it hard for the other fellow. So we assure you of the credibility of the investigation,” Morales said.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle emerged as Filipino of the Year in an online poll by Inquirer.net.
Relief and rescue workers and the group of Benhur Luy, lawyer Levito Baligod and the whistle-blowers came in third place.
The following is the result of the online poll: Tagle, 32.15 percent; relief and rescue workers (Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and Bohol earthquake), 25.32 percent; Benhur Luy, lawyer Levito Baligod and the whistle-blowers, 15.93 percent; “Tres Marias” (De Lima, Morales and Tan), 14.86; Filipino beauty queens (Megan Young, Bea Rose Santiago, etc.), 5.65 percent; Gilas Pilipinas team, 3.37 percent; the Supreme Court, 1.52 percent; National Bureau of Investigation investigators, 0.7 percent, and Filipino indie filmmakers, 0.49 percent.
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