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Making it harder for whistleblowers in RP


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you…” (Deuteronomy 28:63, the Holy Bible).

IT DOES NOT PAY TO EXPOSE OIL SMUGGLING? I agree with lawyer Dante Vargas, a former Ombudsman prosecutor, that it would have been a lot better if his client, Felicito Mejorado, cooperated with oil smugglers, instead of reporting their smuggling activities to the government, considering the refusal of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to pay the reward money due Mejorado.

Mejorado was supposed to receive some P272 million as a reward from the government for information that led to the busting of an oil smuggling syndicate, but, up to now, he has been paid only about P68 million. Abad, in particular, is said to be refusing to release the rest of the reward money to Mejorado, even if the money was already released by the National Treasury to the Department of Budget.

The point of Vargas is therefore well-taken: if Mejorado did not squeal on the oil smuggling, and instead cooperated with the smugglers, he would have earned much more than the P272 million that he is to be paid with. Now, the question is: why are Abad and the Finance Department refusing to pay? They want to give the message that it does not pay to expose oil smuggling under the Aquino government?

MAKING IT HARDER FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS IN RP: Because of what is happening to Mejorado, who else will dare expose smuggling activities in the Philippines if the very government officials who are supposed to fight smuggling themselves are acting against whistleblowers, unjustifiably at that, particularly in withholding the reward money due them, which has already been made available anyway?

It would have been alright if there was a valid reason for refusing to pay the whistleblowers. But then, in the case of Mejorado, his right to be paid was already recognized by this government earlier, since he had been given an initial payment of about P68 million.

The sudden refusal of Abad and the Finance Department to effect further payment raises suspicions that they are merely trying to make it harder for Mejorado, in particular, and for all whistleblowers, in general. The impression one gets from what Abad and the Department of Finance are doing to Mejorado is this: discourage exposes against smugglers. In short, the impression is that, this government wants smuggling to continue.

RAISING PROBLEMS TO GOD: Consequently, I also agree with what Vargas had done as a lawyer for Mejorado: bring this matter to the Ombudsman. As President Aquino is fond of saying whenever he is confronted with the shenanigans of his officials and subordinates, let the chips fall where they may, and let’s see whether the Ombudsman will act in the greater interest of the Filipino nation.

But I urge Vargas and Mejorado to bring their issues not only before the courts of men, but even before God—in particular, through prayers and constant study of His Word, the Bible, with expectation in their hearts that in His great mercy and omniscience, God will act with fairness and justice as the ultimate “Judge” or “Justice” in their complaint against Abad and the Department of Finance.

For, in Hebrews 4:12, we are told: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart…” And in Romans 1:16, we are reminded: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”

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By Atty. Batas Mauricio

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