Santiago: Reject politicians involved in ‘pork’ scam in 2016

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Friday, March 7, 2014


THE voting public should reject politicians who allegedly benefited from the pork barrel scam come 2016 when they seek reelection, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Friday.

"We should not re-elect any senators or congressmen running for reelection in 2016, if they are among those against whom the Ombudsman will file criminal charges for plunder or malversation of public funds in the Sandiganbayan," the senator said.

Santiago made the appeal during the awarding ceremony of the most outstanding students and student organizations of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Batangas City, where she was guest speaker.

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Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and several former congressmen are accused of plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the alleged misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Several others were accused of malversation, direct bribery, and other graft and corrupt practices.

Santiago said the PDAF "became a source of widespread corruption" before it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

"During the time when pork barrel was still a legitimate exercise of the power to reduce poverty, it became a source of widespread corruption from our elected senators and representatives. This sordid case of plunder in our political history is evidence that corruption is caused by a top-down process," she said.

The senator said that voters should likewise reject politicians who are silent on the pork barrel controversy.

Santiago said silence means that the particular politician is willing to make friends with anybody, right or wrong, corrupt or honest, as long as the politician can gather votes.

"Politicians who purposely refrain from participating in the national debate on the pork barrel scandal are politicians who are cowards, because they refuse to take a position for fear of incurring the anger of the guilty ones. This kind of cowardice is anathema to leadership," she said. (Sunnex)

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