Calls to scrap ‘pork’

snowball in
Senate
By Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net
2:30 pm | Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Senator Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito, Senator Loren Legarda
and Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Moves to scrap the grafttainted Priority Development Assistance Fund
(PDAF) are gaining grounds in the Senate ahead
of Monday’s social media-initiated protest
demanding for its abolition.
After Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter
Cayetano and Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
filed separate Senate resolutions to junk the
“pork barrel” funds, more senators expressed
support for the move to restore the credibility of
Congress that has been rocked by the “pork”
scandal.
One of them was Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla
Jr. The lawmaker from Cavite was among those
mentioned in media reports, whose PDAF has
been allegedly used to fund questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
“It looks like it’s time for the total abolition of the
PDAF. Dapat pati yung mga insertions hindi na
rin payagan (Even in the insertions should not
also be allowed),” Revilla said in text message
sent to reporters by his staff member.
“It appears that that the good intentions of
helping the poor and spreading development to
the countrysides are not realized at
napaglalaruan pa pagdating sa (manipulated
during) implementation,” he said.
Revilla said he was thankful that the Senate
would now look into the matter to ferret out the
truth.
“Napakasakit na madungisan ang pangalang
napakatagal naming pinagsikapan buuin at
pangalagaan. I am praying that this will finally

shed light on the controversy and clear our
tarnished reputations,” he further said.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the
Senate blue ribbon committee that will
investigate the pork barrel scam next week,
said he would also vote for the abolition of PDAF.
“I will vote for the abolition of the pork barrel,”
Guingona said in an interview with reporters.
Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senators
Loren Legarda, and Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito had
earlier expressed their support for the abolition of
the pork barrel.
Recto and Legarda belong to the majority bloc in
the Senate while Ejercito is a member of the
minority group.
Abolish ‘pork’
“I support the scrapping of PDAF,” Recto said in a
text message when asked if he would support
moves in the Senate to abolish the “pork barrel”
funds.
“However, the entire national budget should be
more transparent. All projects should be by line
item in the General Appropriations Act. So each
local government, district community will know
where money is spent and what is to expect,” he
said.
Recto said the entire national budget should be
reformed.
Legarda, in a separate text message, said she
would not use her PDAF this 16th Congress.
“I’m not using my PDAF in the 16th Congress
and I am in favor of its abolition,” she said.
“Let us legislators stand on the laws we enact,”
Legarda said.
Ejercito said he would not only support an
investigation into the alleged pork barrel scam,
but he expressed willingness to give up his
PDAF.
Restore Congress’ credibility
“As a neophyte senator, I came at a time when
the institution is under fire because of the PDAF
scandal. To restore the credibility of Congress, I
support the investigations so that those
implicated may have the chance to clear their
names and those guilty be made to face the
music,” he said.
“We were elected as legislators, not as
administrators. We have to be sensitive to what
the people want after all we are their
representatives. I can manage to perform my
duties without the pork barrel.”
“And also as a neophyte senator, I would want to
put an end to this issue once and for all and
restore the faith of the people in the Senate and
Congress,” Ejercito added.
Rather than call for outright abolition of pork
barrel, neophyte Senator Juan Edgardo Angara
preferred the gradual scrapping of PDAF as
earlier proposed by Senator Miriam DefensorSantiago.
“There are only two real options both of which are
acceptable to me. First, is the abolition (of

considering Napoles' alleged resources and deep connections in government. I support the suspension (of PDAF) based on the reasons laid down by the President. Tangled web of corruption An exposé by the Philippine Daily Inquirer revealed a tangled web of corruption. de Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will ask the 190-nation International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to include the siblings in its red notice list to ensure their arrest for serious illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy. Second. is reform which would no doubt involve drastically improving safeguards against corruption. saying PDAF has many good uses. the NBI is split over putting a bounty on Napoles. only about 10 to 20 percent were spent on the actual projects. Still. peanuts lang yan if we think of the resources of the subject. At the moment. also a member of the Senate minority bloc. including listing of specific projects ahead of time and limiting beneficiaries to schools and government agencies. De Lima admitted that going after the siblings is a difficult task. The Commission on Audit has reported its special audit showing that at least 74 legislators exceeded their annual allocations of P70 million for representatives and P200 million for senators between 2007 and 2009. But up to now.inquirer.” But Aquino on Monday rebuffed the mounting calls. the passports of Napoles and Lim were cancelled by the Department of Foreign Affairs while the Court of Appeals froze 400 financial accounts traced to the businesswoman.” said Binay. Outraged Filipinos in the country and overseas are utilizing the social media to organize protests on Monday to demand the abolition of the “pork barrel. With a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook De Lima wants Napoles on Interpol red notice list - AA+A Thursday. Wait and see Another neophyte senator. Related stories: Aquino cool to pork march Another senator seeks scrapping of ‘pork barrel’ Aquino won’t junk pork "Karamihan sa kanila sinasabi nila na hindi na daw kailangan.senators’ pork barrel) as proposed by Senator Miriam. Originally posted at 12:46 p. Nancy Binay." de Lima told reporters. said she would rather wait for the result of an inquiry into the pork barrel scam before making her decision on the issue. which include suspected human rights violator Jovito Palparan and brothers Joel . COA chair Grace Pulido-Tan said Friday.m. August 22. with Janet Lim-Napoles as the alleged brains behind a P10billion scheme that channeled funds over the past 10 years from the pork barrel and other state agencies into kickbacks of up to 60 percent using NGOs. But she acknowledged that there was a need to review the policy and process how and to whom PDAF should be entrusted. Kasi kung P1 million o P2 million. “I would rather wait for the final result of the probe before calling for regulation or abolition. her relatives and dubious non-government organizations that she allegedly used to corner taxpayers money.018 billion in taxpayers’ money allocated to the pork barrel. Read more: http://newsinfo. 2013 JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima assured the public on Thursday that fugitive businesswoman Janet Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim are still in the country.” she pointed out.net/472037/3more-senators-want-pork-fundsscrapped#ixzz2chMX4olE She cited the case of the top five fugitives. “One of the problems is that NGOs (nongovernment organizations) have been empowered to the point that they have escaped accountability. Of the P12. Earlier.” Angara said.

Napoles had denied that her wealth came from illegal means but the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is currently investigating her and her relatives to determine if correct taxes had been paid for the purchase of multi-million peso properties. who have yet to be arrested despite the P2-million reward for information that will lead to their capture. now whether it will lead to Napoles. If not. The officials of the NGOs linked to the scam were alleged employees of Napoles' trading firm JLN Corp . If you are an earning NGO. we will have to look whether they have some tax liability. The foundation is a separate probe.and Mario Reyes. "The probe is about whether she reported the right income. then you are subject to tax. we will see.” said BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.