Will anything come of these investigations?

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

"Resignation will not save your neck!" This is President Duterte's threat to PhilHealth officials who have resigned at the height of the agency's corruption investigation. Those supposedly involved in corruption cannot escape criminal liability just because they resigned. That is good to hear. Those involved in corruption should be afraid. But do they get what they deserve? Are they held accountable? Are they imprisoned for their wrongdoings?

Senator Lacson noted that Duterte's allies like DOH Sec. Duque and DPWH Sec. Villar seem to be off the hook right off the bat, something the Palace has denied. We are all too familiar with the Malacañang two-step where the president says one thing and the spokesman "clarifies". Lately, the DPWH is again being investigated for anomalies and corruption even under this administration which has touted being aggressively anti-corrupt. Like they have a monopoly on good, clean governance. In the recent investigation by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), some legislators are supposedly receiving kickbacks from DPWH projects. No names have been disclosed by the PACC which has submitted their report to Duterte. I wonder if he will come up with a matrix like what he used to do with supposed drug lords.

But will all those suspected and accused of corruption eventually be imprisoned? Let us mention some examples. What happened with the case against Janet Lim Napoles, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the billion-peso PDAF scam? Both Estrada and Enrile have posted bail for a supposedly non-bailable offense. What has happened to the fertilizer scam? What has happened to the ZTE/broadband case? What has happened to the case against the Binays of Makati concerning the very expensive parking building? What has happened to the case against two undersecretaries of the Bureau of Immigration in connection with the P50-million extortion of a gaming tycoon? We have the controversies hounding the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Corrections where those in charge have even been given other positions after resigning. I’m sure I missed out on other cases but you get the point. Have any of them been imprisoned, sentenced, and convicted even if the evidence against them is strong? All of these are high-profile cases followed by the public until they just fizzled out.

Due process is often the reason why the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly. Even these suspects deserve their days in court. But these high-profile cases take years. There is evidence, there are witnesses. What else is needed to finally get a decision? In some instances, the cases are dismissed to the consternation of the public. So I would not be surprised if it will take years before we see any conviction of erring PhilHealth officials. A new administration may be in place before we see any progress along with the cases mentioned above. So can one be faulted in asking if anything comes out of these investigations, even arrests, and detentions?

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