Senators in ‘pork’ scam open to lifestyle check

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

THE three senators implicated in the controversial pork barrel scam said they are open to submit themselves to a lifestyle check as an answer to the challenge of Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Dennis Cunanan.

"Game. Pati lie detector test, game na," Senator Jinggoy Estrada told reporters Tuesday.

Estrada, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., have been accused of pocketing portions of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation, which were diverted to bogus non-government organizations.

Cunanan, who was also named in the charge sheet, has applied to be a state witness in relation to the PDAF scam. He is set to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on Thursday.

Senators meanwhile said that the lifestyle check should cover not only those accused in the PDAF but all members of the Senate, the Cabinet, and even President Benigno Aquino III.

"For the sake of transparency and accountability, kung talagang kailangan pang mag-conduct ng mga lifestyle check outside of the SALNs and the Ombudsman, dapat tignan din sina Pangulong Aquino, Secretary Butch Abad, Secretary Mar Roxas, at ang buong gabinete. There are estimates that almost P2 trillion in DAP and Malampaya funds that have yet to be accounted for," Revilla said in a statement.

Revilla said that being public officials, their lives are an open book. He said his lifestyle can easily be checked by the Office of the Ombudsman through his filed Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs).

"Bakit kami lang? Kami lang ang tinuturo. Hindi ko alam kung bakit kami lang dinidiin. Mga congressmen, hindi nila-lifestyle check, all members of Congress," Estrada added.

Enrile, for his part, said that his assets are open to any investigation.

"The government can investigate this...I have no asset in my name except for my sales of stocks in my corporation. Marami diyan nagbabyahe halos buwan-buwan," Enrile said.

Senator Francis Escudero, however, said it would be unfair for the lifestyle check to cover Cabinet members and President Aquino.

Escudero nevertheless called for the congressional approval on his proposal to require all government officials to sign a waiver on the secrecy of their bank deposits.

"Hindi naman siguro tama na idawit at idamay pa nila si Pangulong Aquino sa isyung ito, subalit kung mapapasa ang na nire-require lahat ng opisyal magsubmit ng waiver ng secrecy of bank deposits, e di lahat yon ay masasaklaw, maski si Pangulong Aquino masasaklaw ng batas na iyan," Escudero said. (Sunnex)

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