Friday, June 20, 2008

'Isnaji pocketed much of P5-M ransom'

"Hero or Heel?" asks the cover of the more respectable national tabloids, and just above that, a picture of Indanan Mayor Alvarez Isnaji. As if to conform the latter, the PNP held a press conference this noon to announce the indictment of the mayor and his son.

Is it a reflection of my own cynicism that this should be the cause not of shock but of mirth and merriment? Do others feel the same way?

In the first place, such a revelation belies the fervent protestation that absolutely no ransom at all whatsoever was paid. Does this now make liars of the Oreña-Drilon families? Of ABS-CBN? Or -- gadzooks! -- the heavenly angel Senator Loren Legarda? Alas, we may never know.

Of the P5-M ransom that the Oreña-Drilon family was alleged to have paid, Mayor Isnaji was alleged to have pocketed P3-M. Shocking? Remember that, as far as, "bukol" goes, a going rate of over 100% is now the norm -- allegedly -- among government officials. (P5-M, in comparison with the other "bukol", is peanuts, but then again, Isnaji would merely be a small-time operator.)

So what happens to the P3-M? Was it recovered? Will it be returned? Or will it, like the envelope money given to Fr. Ed Panlilio, suddenly find its donors shy?

If Isnaji, a mayor, should find the time to engage in such lucrative extracurriculars -- and have the resources to do so -- what does that say of the other local government officials in the ARMM? Of Mindanao? Of the Philippines, in general?

Oh, and by the way, guess what ticket Isnaji ran under during the last elections?

The administration's Team Unity.

Ha. Ha.