0164F: The Napoles Story Is Far From Over

At around 09:37pm yesterday, the infamous Janet Napoles surrendered to no less than the President after successfully eluding police efforts to arrest her given prior illegal detention charges. She's more known for her alleged involvement in a massive scam to cheat the government out of billions of pesos worth of funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as the Congressional pork barrel. Supposedly she finally surrendered to the President out of fear for her life given the many threats against her person.

The anger against Napoles and the supposed inconsiderate nature of her family given the public evidence of the family's wealth is certainly a natural reaction for people. We can't blame folks for latching on to her and her family given they're the most tangible focus for everyone's ire. The core issue here remains to be graft and corruption in government - something that is too well-rooted into how this company works. The very nature of the PDAF-system is one that supports and fosters patronage politics, as has all other versions of the pork barrel fund. The fact that clear evidence has come out has let people put a face to their "enemy" of sorts.

But at this point, we also have to acknowledge the fact that she has not actually been convicted of anything. In fact, she's been arrested for a charge that isn't directly related to the whole PDAF scandal as a whole. But because people are people are people we get to consider her and her family guilty until proven innocent across social media.

I find it hard to believe that Napoles is the ultimate mastermind in all this. Unless she's amazingly brilliant - like Lex Luthor brilliant, it seems too convenient that one person was able to corner such a large chunk of the pork barrel fund using her various dummy NGOs and such. If some of the reported evidence is to be believed, her level of involvement with the government implies that more than a few of our lawmakers were probably more than just coincidentally involved in the whole scam. As much as people want to see her hang, her value as a potential witness against members of government involved in the scam is hard to dismiss out of hand.

For now, we need to wait for the ever so slow wheels of justice to turn. That means for Napoles to be tried on the existing illegal detention charges and for the government to file formal charges against her and her companies regarding the supposed PDAF scam as a whole. Once that's in place, the actual trial can begin and the whole back and forth presentation of evidence and counter-evidence can play out. It's not going to be pretty though given the presumption of guilt in the general populace. In this case, I suppose it's a good thing that we don't rely on jury trials in this country.

For now, be patient folks. The journey has just begun for all of us and we need to keep an open mind about matters while also remaining vigilant.
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