MANILA, Philippines –With some members of the Senate in the spotlight for alleged mishandling of millions of pesos from their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the issue has caused some friction among the senators, Senator Francis Escudero has disclosed.
“There is a bit of friction between some of its members, those that are involved, not involved, and could possibly be involved,” Escudero told reporters in a briefing Friday, a day after three senators – Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. – were identified as having endorsed their PDAF or “pork barrel” to fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
The Senate blue ribbon committee is investigating the billion-peso “ pork barrel” scam, allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles allegedly managed to siphon off some P10 billion from the PDAF of lawmakers by establishing bogus NGOs.
Witnesses in Thursday’s Senate hearing identified Enrile, Estrada and Revilla as having endrosed the release of their PDAF to these fake NGOs owned by Napoles.
Escudero said the scam has adversely affected the Senate and its credibility and has gone as far as affecting the work of its members.
“Friction in the sense that the atmosphere of the work is not normal unlike if there is no issue like this,” Escudero said.
Escudero said that there were those who would accuse other members of riding on the pork barrel issue to look good.
“There are others who will say that they are putting down their fellow senators and that today’s accusers may find themselves in the same boat later on,” Escudero said in Filipino.
“The situation is different when there are no issues like this where members of the Senate are involved and being the subject of hearings,” Escudero said.
First posted 6:27 pm | Friday, September 6th, 2013