Chief Justice tells public: Calm down amid furor over ‘pork’ scam
MANILA, Philippines–Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has omitted portions of her prepared speech for the 116th Independence Day Celebration which mentions about the existence of several lists involved in the pork barrel scam that tend to sow divisiveness among the people.
In her draft speech, she said the Filipino people should be vigilant to make sure that those who are accountable will be brought to justice.
“Ang dami ng listahan na nagkalat. Ang dami nang tinuturo na kasabwat daw…Ano nga ba ang dapat nating paniwalaan?” Sereno said.
(Several lists have been propagated. Many have been accused as a player (in the pork barrel scam)…What should we believe?)
“Dapat siguro ay huminto muna tayo sa ating panggagalaiti at tayo ay magnilaynilay nang sandali…Hindi ba kapag magulo, malabo at walang direksyon ay lalong may pagkakataon ang mga nagkasala na makatakas sa kanilang pananagutan?…Hindi ba gusto nila na lumaganap ang pagdududa nang walang batayan para mawalan na tayo ng gana at lakas ng loob upang ipagpatuloy ang mahirap na laban sa katiwalian?”
(We should probably control our ire, and think for a while. Don’t the guilty have more chances to escape their responsibilities when things are disorganized, muddled, and lack direction? Don’t the guilty want to spread doubts so we will lose interest and fervor to continue the fight against corruption?)
In the copy e-mailed to the media, Sereno’s speech also acknowledged the ongoing mass action against the pork barrel scam.
“Sa Maynila at iba pang sulok ng bansa ay nagtitipon ang ating mga kababayan hindi upang sumama sa opisyal na paggunita ng kasarinlan, kung hindi upang iparating ang kanilang mga daing sa napapabalitang pangungulimbat ng PDAF at kaban ng bayan,” read the prepared text.
(In Manila and other parts of the country, our countrymen have gathered not to commemorate the Philippine independence, but to protest against the reported stealing of the people’s PDAF and funds.)
She added that the country’s hope for progress gets “killed” for every peso stolen from the government.
The Chief Justice said “there are many questions that needed answers like; who should be prosecuted and who should be accepted as state witness; why are there only few charged; Should all those charged be imprisoned immediately or would there be special treatment; what do the various lists mean and what is the power of the Commission on Audit and the Department of Justice?”
But she said she will not talk about these questions because these could go up to the Supreme Court.
Sereno’s speech instead focused on how the Constitution and the country’s laws could serve as a guide to all Filipinos especially during times of political uncertainty.
Sereno cited Apolinario Mabini who devoted time in crafting a Constitution during the revolution.
“Mabini concentrated on drafting the law because he knew that the law, not the revolution will lead the country to the right direction,” she said.
“Revolution is like a rushing water that destroys everything on its path,” Sereno said.
Speaking metaphorically, the Chief Justice said there has to be a dam or something that would block the rushing water and store it for better use.
While Sereno opted to omit a huge chunk of her speech about the pork barrel scam, she told the public that she will lead the Judiciary in strengthening the people’s faith in the Constitution.
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