Too Many Corners


“To cut corners,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, means “to do something in the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, often harming the quality of your work.” 

Image source: Fine Art America
Just get a square piece of paper. Cut off one corner. Instead of three corners, you now have five corners. So, when we cut corners, we actually end up with more corners. Thus, it would become the hardest, the longest and the costliest way to do one’s work.
Janet Lim-Napoles in Malacanang. Image source: Rappler
That’s what I believe is what President Noynoy Aquino did when he personally handled the surrender of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind (or, at the very least, the bag lady), Janet Lim-Napoles.
Critics branded the surrender as an ‘ill-designed script’ and a ‘political drama’ staged by the Aquino administration to show that the President was serious in investigating the pork barrel controversy. Napoles’ surrender, indeed, had the hallmarks of a high political drama, with no less than President Benigno Aquino III himself receiving Napoles in Malacañang, prompting a militant peasant group leader to comment that “The (pork barrel) Queen will never surrender to anyone but to the King.” (Source: Manila Standard Today)
But a defensive Palace lamented that it was a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t scenario. According to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda,  “We wanted to make sure that she was safe rather than, if you don’t do anything, if you don’t take up this lead, what will you say? What you will tell us? That we did not arrest her?” (Ibid) (But, reportedly, her surrender merely preempted her impending capture with the NBI closing in on her hideout.) Making it appear that those were petty criticisms, the palace argued that what’s important is that Napoles is now in jail.  
Image source: GMA Network
For me, it’s not even an issue of protocol. Lacierda waxed historic when he claimed that this is not the first presidential surrender. But it appears he did not get his facts straight.
A list released by Malacañang Thursday cites 4 cases of surrenders to Philippine presidents. But two of the cases cited in the list do not involve fugitives linked to scams; they involve men who mounted rebellions and granted amnesty. [The other two did not actually and directly surrender to presidents.] … But the unique case of alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles is the first one in 65 long years. Not only was she allowed to enter the seat of power, the President himself went to Camp Crame Wednesday night to make sure that her “detention facility” was arranged by the Philippine National Police. (Source: Rappler)
Simply put, it’s an issue of cutting corners. Yes, the president made a judgment call. But, in my opinion, it’s a bad one.
A meme making fun of those who cried out against the presidential (read: preferential) treatment surrounding Napoles' surrender.
Keep in mind that the COA report apparently implicated both administration and opposition lawmakers in the pork barrel scam. (I truly hope Napoles would make a bare-all confession.) 

But what if, for the sake of argument, only opposition lawmakers were really culpable? Even if Napoles tells that “truth,” they could always claim that there was a secret deal between her and the administration to protect their allies and to point her finger at their enemies. The president in effect gave them enough ammunition to defend themselves. They could now spin the scam into a political persecution. They could always cry out that her testimony is already tainted. 


No matter how much the palace denies that there were no backdoor deals, the presidential shortcut could end up short-circuiting the case.


My take? By cutting corners, I’m afraid the president just shredded our chance for justice. 


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