Aquino urged to prosecute admin allies over PDAF scam

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


THE House independent minority bloc criticized Thursday the Aquino administration for applying a "selective justice" on its political opponents in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez assailed the alleged political persecution of the present government while applying a "purported color blind attitude" in running after allies who have been dragged into the controversy.

"We protest the deliberate delays in the filing of complaints and charges against Palace allies whose named have been mentioned in the pork barrel scam. The political persecution against critics through government's color blind attitude must stop now. Everybody should be made answerable and accountable. Our authorities should not hesitate to go after people regardless of their political affiliation," Romualdez said.

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Romualdez's reaction came after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the filing of plunder and graft charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and seven others for allegedly amassing a total of P597-million in kickbacks from the disbursement of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Abakada party-list Representative Jonathan dela Cruz supported Romualdez's statement and said that the perception of selective prosecution could be erased if some officials of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Audit (COA) and legislators identified with the Aquino administration are also charged.

"Unless the DBM and the implementing agencies and COA and other legislators are put to task, the filing of charges against critics regarding pork barrel scam is surely a color blind operation," dela Cruz said.

Meanwhile, House deputy speaker Sherwin Tugna expressed belief that the Ombudsman has strong cases against the respondents.

"Even if it took some time for the Ombudsman to resolve the preliminary investigation, I am convinced that the Ombudsman has well-prepared cases because it underwent a thorough review and preparation. Trial for pork scam will proceed," Tugna said.

Gabriela party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan, for her part, said the indictments failed to name more respondents especially those who are allied with the Aquino administration.

"At last we are getting results! But is short of our expectations after the long-drawn out investigations. What about the co-conspirators? Where are the officials of the government agencies involved in the anomalies? Why are the political opponents of (President) Aquino singled out? Will the other NGOs (non-government organizations) also be investigated? The outcome was long overdue yet anti-climactic," Ilagan said.

Enrile has been accused of pocketing P172-million, while Revilla and Estrada allegedly earned from commission and kickbacks P242 million and P183 million, respectively, supposedly paid out of their pork barrel funds channeled through selected implementing agencies and into bogus NGOs linked to detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. (Sunnex)

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