MANILA, Philippines–Senate President Franklin Drilon enjoined his fellow senators on Wednesday to “respond fully” to the questions raised on the use of their “pork
barrel” funds when the Senate starts its own inquiry next week.
The Senate blue ribbon committee headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III is set to hold an inquiry on August 29, 2013 into the alleged misuse of legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel funds.
“I enjoin my colleagues in the Senate to respond fully to the questions raised by COA’s findings. We are accountable to our people and they deserve no less than everyone’s full explanation to these questions,” Drilon said in a statement.
COA is the Commission on Audit, which had earlier released to the public its special audit findings on the allocation and use of pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009. The audit showed that many legislators exceeded their annual pork allocation.
Congressmen’s pork barrel allocation is set at P70 million each annually while senators get allocated P200 million each.
Drilon said it was high time that the Senate holds its own investigation now that COA has completed its special audit on the PDAF.
“Over the past three weeks, our people have expressed shock and dismay over the reported P10 billion PDAF scandal that allegedly involved some members of Congress. We heard the people’s loud clamor for accountability from us and they will not be denied. We will hold ourselves accountable,” he said.
While the Senate had decided early on that it must also look into the controversy, Drilon said they did not find it necessary at that time to conduct a parallel investigation with the COA.
“Now that COA has completed its Special Audit on the PDAF from 2007 to 2009, it is time for the Senate, through its blue ribbon committee to conduct public hearings, in aid of legislation, on the utilization of the PDAF, to review the need to fund the PDAF in 2014 and beyond and to immediately recommend the adoption of strict guidelines in the use of the PDAF, among others,” he said.
“It is time our people are informed about the details of that special audit,” the Senate leader added.