What judgment for Mr. Andaya? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 11:19

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

Rolando Andaya, the DBM head under the Arroyo administration and currently a representative of Camarines  Sur,  has been identified as having signed 33 of the 43 SAROS that made possible the release of  funds from the PDAP of the 3 indicted senators to the bogus NGOs of Janet Lim-Napoles to the tune of  P988 million. Mr. Andaya  is also said to have been gifted with P225 million by Napoles.

Of course, Mr. Andaya denies the charges. He said that in signing the SAROS he was merely carrying out a “ministerial” role. Perhaps he is telling the truth. Perhaps his justification for having simply carried out  a ministerial role by signing the SAROs is acceptable,  for things like this do happen without wrongful or dishonest intent. But still there are two points that need to be carefully thought out.

If the P225 million “gift” to him by Mrs. Napoles is true, what did he do to deserve it?   Assuming that the claim is true but the gift was not solicited and he did nothing illegal for Mrs. Napoles, is it  ethical for a public servant to accept such a big gift from a private citizen?  We have been informed in the last weeks that many Cabinet secretaries actually receive extremely handsome annual salaries . Even if we give that as legal and licit,  P225 million would be the equivalent of salaries for about 10 years. Isn’t that something that we should question Mr. Andaya about? If he cannot give an acceptable explanation then we have to conclude that his acceptance of  the P225 million was a corrupt act.

On the matter of carrying out a ministerial role, okay we can agree with that. Perhaps he was not in with Mrs. Napoles but his assistant or his staff was. The DOJ has ruled that the  release of the several million pesos to the bogus NGOs was illegal. Whether Mr. Andaya knew about this or not, that his office made possible the loss of so much money from the Philippine treasury,  he is responsible as head of that office.  If not by direct commission of the crime then  by the principle of command responsibility.

It is about time  that we in the Philippines raise the levels of accountability of our public officials, whether elected or appointed. Simply because the “smoking gun”  or the finger print do not lead directly to this official as a culprit does not mean he can get off the hook.  We should learn some lessons about responsibility or accountability as this is commonly practiced  in other countries. A recent example is  that of the South Korean Minister for Transportation who offered to resign as a result of the accident with the ferry boat which resulted in some 300 people being killed. It happened during his watch and so he felt accountable even if he wasn’t actually on the ship.

What happens in the Philippines?  A convicted ( but pardoned) president runs for president and almost wins; he runs for mayor of the country’s number 1 city and wins. Two officers  lead  their respective  coups and are imprisoned;  both  run  for the senate and both win. Only in the Philippines!

So what are we going to do about this case of Mr. Andaya?  Give him a pat in the back and say “ We understand and we forgive you” ?