Senator proposes Truth Commission to probe pork scam

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Monday, June 2, 2014


AN INDEPENDENT truth commission would remove doubts on the impartiality of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee whose members are also being implicated in the alleged misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Monday.

The administration senator urged President Benigno Aquino III to form the truth commission that would be tasked to investigate the entire aspect of the scam.

Trillanes said the commission would look not only on the alleged involvement of the non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim Napoles but the other NGOs and implementing agencies as well.

The composition of the truth composition will be members from the media, retired justices, and members of the academe who are highly credible and with integrity.

"If the public really wants to know more about the scam, because it is very extensive, then we should establish this commission," the senator said.

Trillanes said it is not possible and credible to investigate if there is already a cloud of doubt over the proceedings.

"Because many of the senators are implicated, the truth commission may also take charge over the investigation of the Malampaya fund scam since the pork barrel scam is also related to it," Trillanes said.

The senator said it is enough that the Blue Ribbon conducted the investigation and the Senate itself has already addressed the problem by removing the pork barrel in the 2014 national budget to prevent public funds from being misused again.

At the same time, Trillanes said the Senate Blue Ribbon may no longer take up calls to reopen the investigation on the pork barrel scam, saying the proceedings no longer serve any purpose insofar as remedial legislation is concerned and that the issue is now considered bigger than Congress itself since it has placed a cloud of doubt even among the probers.

Trillanes said it will put to test the credibility of Napoles especially against Benhur Luy, the key whistleblower, on their conflicting list of personalities who allegedly connived in the Napoles scheme.

"We don't know if Napoles is again deceiving us. Her first testimony is that she knows nothing. She destroyed her own credibility. If Napoles really wants the public to believe her, it is time that she really tells the truth," Trillanes said.

Trillanes said the pork scam issue will only distract the senators and their primary job to legislate and oversee the proper functions of the government will be affected.

While the case is already in the Office of the Ombudsman, Trillanes expressed belief that the list of those who should be held responsible should be the judgment of the Ombudsman and not the Senate anymore.

Meanwhile, Trillanes also asked the public to be discerning in any information that is released in the media.

"Right now, there seems to be a lynch mob mentality. When you are just mentioned there is already an allegation of criminality. I hope the people will realize the truth," he said as he maintained that the public should be critical in their judgment of the issue.

"The public should know how to categorize who is really guilty and those who are just being implicated," Trillanes said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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