Senators support Aquino's call vs graft, corruption-A A +A
Thursday, October 31, 2013
SENATORS expressed support to President Benigno Aquino III's call to end graft and corruption in government after the Chief Executive assured that he will not stop running after those thieves who are taking advantage of their position and stealing from the government coffers.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said the real issue that needs to be addressed is the misuse of priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and the plunder of government's funds using the PDAF.
Drilon said some forces behind the media campaign and black propaganda against the administration and its allies aim to divert the attention of the public away from the issue of stealing.
He also expressed disgust that the issue is being twisted in order to confuse the Filipino people on the issue of stealing the money of the people using the lawmakers' pork barrel fund.
"This black propaganda is well funded," Drilon said.
The focus, according to Drilon, is to destroy the reputation of the President and his allies and to confuse the people from the real issue, which is corruption committed by some lawmakers.
Drilon lamented that he has also been a subject of a highly-funded vilification campaign to steer the public attention away from those who are implicated in the PDAF scam.
Senator Francis Escudero, an Aquino ally, said the public must not be confused and misled by the negative campaign being stage against the President.
Escudero explained that the DAP is not cold cash but projects that lawmakers can immediately extend to the people even as he insisted that the DAP is legal and valid.
The senator said that it is important to note that Aquino is not the one in trial as he assured that the President is not a thief.
Escudero agreed that those who are behind the stealing of the people's money must be held accountable for plundering the money of the people.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who belongs to the Senate majority group, said the President is right in making sure that all of the people responsible in the pork barrel scam are prosecuted.
Senator Sonny Angara expressed confidence that truth will come out in the end.
"I'm confident the President's ratings will go up at some point once people realize everything he has done to make sure the people's money is spent properly," Angara said.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago also supported Aquino's statement that all lawmakers who will be found guilty of plunder for the multi-billion pork barrel scam should be jailed.
"President Aquino's priorities are correct. For purposes of deterrence, it is more efficient and bloodcurdling to send senators to jail, if they are guilty of plunder. Analyzing and retrofitting the pork barrel system should come later, because it will take more time and requires highly technical skill," Santiago said.
Santiago is expecting that there will be more senators to face plunder charges aside from Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.
But Estrada said he is supporting the call of President Aquino against those people who are abusive and stealing the money of the Filipino people.
Estrada said, Aquino whom he considers a friend, should get to the bottom of the issue and dig the truth as he stressed that he is a thief.
Estrada said he is hopeful that the President will not tag them as thieves, "a person is innocent until proven guilty and only the court can decide on that matter."
Revilla, for his part, said Aquino should admit to the public that the DAP is pork barrel given to legislators and other officials at his disposal.
Revilla through his counsel, Joel Bodegon, said he is ready to face Aquino's challenge as he stressed that he did not steal anything from the people.
"Wala po akong ninakaw sa taumbayan. Kailan man hindi ako nagnakaw at hindi ako magnanakaw kaninuman," said Revilla.
Revilla said that he was disappointed that he is being called a thief even though the case against them is not yet submitted to the Sandiganbayan.
Revilla is referring to the plunder case filed by the Department of Justice at the Ombudsman against him, Estrada and Enrile.
"I am ready to answer all the allegations hurled against me. These are all accusations and all lies. I will answer point by point the charges against me at the right place. Handa ko pong harapin ang mga akusasyon ninyo sa akin," said Revilla.
The senator said the President's pork is an issue that needs to be address legally as he explained that it did not pass Congress for scrutiny. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)