Senator Allan Peter Cayetano’s decision not to inhibit himself from the probe on the fertilizer fund scam made me feel “delicadeza” (a sense of what is proper and improper, a sense of shame) is really in near extinction.
Though Senator Ping Lacson clarified that he was “not casting aspersions and giving any hint of indictment” on Cayetano, the fact that he raised is that Cayetano’s name is on a list of supposed beneficiaries of the fertilizer fund.
But Cayetano still refused to inhibit himself. Yet I find the reasons he gave self-serving. It is because he was the one who cleared himself and not the proper authorities like, for example, the Ombudsman. The one who clears and the one who needs to be cleared cannot be one and the same person.
He said the Department of Agriculture has already disowned that list. But that is the very office that Cayetano is investigating. He claimed that his district did not get any fertilizer fund when he was a congressman. But he added a caveat to be safe: “to my knowledge”. He claimed that list was bogus. But since that list is also submitted to the Ombudsman, then it should be declared as such by that office, not Cayetano. Former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocjoc Bolante, the alleged mastermind of the scam, cleared Cayetano. But Bolante also cleared the president. Yet, the senate probers themselves would not accept his exoneration of the president. How can we then believe his exoneration of Cayetano?
There were signs of such a lack of “delicadeza” when he ran as senator. He toyed with the anti-dynasty law and insisted that there’s nothing wrong with him and his sister serving together in the Senate and his wife serving as a congresswoman at the same time. Yes, the people elected them. But lawmakers should be the first to set an example in obeying the law to those very same people. When the Senate President Manny Villar was accused of double-insertion of a budget for a so-called “road to nowhere,” Cayetano immediately rose to defend Villar without even calling for an investigation.
Like Lacson, I am not casting aspersions or indicting Cayetano. He has all the right to defend his good name. It is also possible that he is not really a beneficiary of the questionable fertilizer fund. But I think he should have the “delicadeza” to inhibit himself. I feel that he just couldn’t resist the glare of the news cameras.
To paraphrase a famous quote of a former Manila mayor, Cayetano seems to me so young yet so… confused.