Mar and Mahindra

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Two-time poll loser Manuel Roxas, the former Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that oversees the Philippine National Police (PNP), had quickly resorted to the same excuse he used in washing his hands of command responsibility in the Mamasapano Massacre as he did with the brazen P1.89-billion Mahindra scandal.

In the Mamasapano Massacre, confronted with undeniable evidence revealing his involvement, to protect himself from direct accountability, he insisted he was outside the loop of a bungled conspiracy that resulted in at least 70 brutal deaths that included innocent bystanders as well as 44 heroic policemen.

When Benigno Aquino III convoluted the investigations by speaking of “alternative truths” as if there was such a thing, he could very well have been referring to the fact that his DILG alter ego, who trailed his every move, rather than being bypassed, had been at the center of an active massacre.

Congressional hearings show he was receiving field reports, conveying up-to-the-minute updates, and yet doing very little as his constituencies were being brutally murdered.

The evidence cannot lie. At the exact moment that the massacre was taking place, not only was the former DILG head chit-chatting with those directly responsible for the massacre, but definitive and undeniable evidence reveals his knowledge and involvement.

His ploy of denying direct criminal complicity is nothing new.

In the Mahindra scandal he insisted that, despite heading the DILG, he had no direct hand in the 2015 anomalous and unjustified procurement of over 2,000 unserviceable and unreliable low-to-poor quality police and sports utility vehicles (SUV).

The purchase, which bypassed critical requisites required by the Commission on Audit (CoA) to ensure that taxpayer’s funds are not lost or stolen, was “deemed too expensive.”

Washing his hands of the anomalous purchase, the former DILG secretary simply brushed aside calls for accountability as destructive criticism. To drive through the insult and worsen the anomaly, months after the first delivery of the vehicles, a second purchase for even higher-priced SUV was made sans requisite “performance reviews.”

When the CoA released its findings, default finger-pointing ensued as Cabinet-level agencies blamed each other despite the DILG’s PNP being the sole user of the vehicles. Mirroring other scandals involving billions in taxpayer’s funds fleeced and then wasted under the Aquino administration, the usual suspects and Cabinet heads from the Budget Department and the DILG were involved.

While greed-induced colossal corruption is not quite as gruesomely graphic and gut-wrenching as the brutal massacre of policemen and innocent bystanders, when billions are involved, as in the Mahindra scandal, then the plunder statutes and life imprisonment penalties kick in where a ranking DILG official is grossly derelict of his duty to stop a billion-peso anomaly occurring right under his nose.

Indulge us. It is obvious that we are deliberately arraying specific commonalities between a massacre and fraudulent purchasing machinations. The disparate duality, however, makes sense.

Dig deeper. Note a profusion of uncanny similarities with the deadly Mamasapano scandal other than the foregoing shameless and sickening denials of a politico that insult the intelligence of the public and reveal the unprincipled underbelly of a resurgent candidate who now asks us to trust him an nth time.

The Mahindra scam involved the tanking of anti-corruption protocols not once but twice. It involved distorting bureaucratic safeguards and diverting accountability away from the DILG Secretary, thus raising serious questions of a lack of leadership, the shedding of responsibilities and the protection of precious posteriors.

The Mahindra scam, because it was carried out under an inept DILG head under whose budget the PNP’s funds are managed, victimizes the local police in particular and the public in general.

The Mahindra scam likewise involves deliberate and blatant obfuscation to avoid accusations of plunder and jail time for crooks bent on toying with the bureaucracy to feed self-indulgent and delusional political ambitions.

In all these, the common denominator is a senatorial wannabe whose incessant and incredible excuse — one he expects the public to swallow hook, line and sinker — is that he was kept out of the loop on billion-peso matters right under his charge.

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