The surrender of Janet Lim Napoles, tagged by many as the “mother of all pork barrel scams,” disappointed a lot of our buddies who were getting ready to channel Gerard Butler in The Bounty Hunter, hoping they’d be the first to get a crack at the P10 million previously offered for any information leading to JLN. We should have staked out major cemeteries, one of our stoolies rued, referring to Secretary Edwin Lacierda’s (tall?) tale that the final meeting place was the Heritage Park Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.
Though infuriating, the pork barrel scandal has become a big source of entertainment to Filipinos. Just take for instance the latest pickup line from Senator Miriam Santiago about a holdup guy who told a man: “Give me your money.” The man haughtily replied, “Don’t you know me? I’m a Congressman!” To which the holdup guy demanded, “Well in that case, give me our money!”
And then there’s the Facebook status of newbie Senator JV Ejercito after news came out that Napoles had surrendered and was in PNP custody: “Ihanda na ang wheelchair (get ready with the wheelchair)”! Obviously, it’s a dig at the habitual practice of people implicated in scams and other scandals to suddenly develop very poor health, making them susceptible to illnesses that render them weak and helpless, thus the need for wheelchairs. In fact, Napoles herself had to be checked because she was having palpitations when she was meeting the President last Wednesday.
Going by the memes, the tweets, the Facebook posts, stickers, posters and the clever turns of phrase to express their sentiment, the surrender of Napoles is now convincing proof to those who still doubt that indeed, we Filipinos are the best when it comes to weaving fantastic stories. No wonder fantaseryes and teledramas with contrived plots are the most followed TV shows, and on primetime at that. Which reminds us—isn’t the National Bureau of Investigation feeling a little sheepish that Napoles (who according to some stoolies was holed up in Quezon City) was virtually under their very noses and had not flown the coop, much less sailed backdoor to Malaysia or something, what with all the to-do regarding Napoles’ missing yachts? That they’re being slack is a perception that’s also fueled by the NBI’s very un-updated official homepage.
Anyway, during the televised press conference with Lacierda, people thought the Presidential Spokesperson was ready to burst when he got asked the same questions over and over again, in particular about some left leaning groups’ demand for the Palace to disclose the deal regarding the surrender of JLN, why she was given the red carpet treatment, etc., prompting the Cabinet official to answer the questions with his own questions. When Napoles was in hiding they were demanding for her capture and now that we have her, they’re saying everything was scripted. What would you rather have us do—refuse to act on the surrender feeler and the threats to Napoles? Make up your mind, an obviously miffed Lacierda fired back.
Happy Hour can certainly believe the existence of threats considering the widening scale of the pork barrel scandal, with more and more names being implicated. Aside from irate taxpayers, a lot of politicians certainly want a piece of Janet (or Jenny as her close friends call her). And we’re not surprised at Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ admission that the Interagency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council tasked to look into the alleged misuse of the pork barrel is having a difficult time getting documentation from other government agencies to prove any wrongdoing.
Manila Standard Today’s Joyce Pangco Pañares definitely put things in the proper context when she questioned “the propriety” of the fact that President Aquino himself accompanied the erstwhile fugitive to Camp Crame, even acting like her escort with the President’s car being the lead in the convoy. No matter how the Palace tries to insist there was no special treatment, people are outraged at the change in the status of Janet Lim Napoles from the Filipino taxpayers’ most wanted fugitive to the “ST Queen”—the Special Treatment Queen as our buddies christened her.
Can you just imagine, the woman who is also ridiculed as the Pork Queen and her lawyer can virtually order around a high ranking Cabinet official, telling him to go here… no wait--go there… ? And of course, being escorted by the President, as if to make all and sundry aware that her surrender puts her under the protection of the President so the PNP better make sure she stays safe from those who are out to get her—ostensibly including certain unnamed corrupt NBI men.
As showbiz host/news anchor Boy Abunda would say, Janet Lim Napoles—Ikaw na!
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