Latest Stories

Lawmakers linked to pork barrel scam should be jailed, says Santiago


Senator Miriam Defensor- Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives should be suspended once indicted over the P10-billion pork barrel scam and jailed if the evidence against them was strong, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on Monday.

Speaking at a conference on hotel management, Santiago said the 1991 Anti-Plunder Act provided that any public officer facing criminal prosecution before a court must be suspended from office.

“If the prosecutor decides to file the case in court, the senator or representative who is accused of plunder will immediately be suspended from Congress,” she said in her speech at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

And if the evidence of guilt against them was strong, the lawmakers would have to “stay in jail” during the trial, she added.

Whistle-blowers, state auditors and former heads of government corporations have consistently tagged Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and a number of representatives as key players in the scam.

The three senators and more than 20 representatives were found to have allotted portions of their pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), to dubious nongovernment organizations set up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. In exchange, the lawmakers received kickbacks equivalent to up to 65 percent of the project cost, according to the whistle-blowers.

The legislators are expected to be charged along with Napoles over the large-scale misuse of the PDAF that has sparked public outrage  and prompted the Aug. 26 mammoth rally at Manila’s Rizal Park and similar protests in other parts of the country and abroad.

Santiago said that while public funds could be transferred to NGOs, the transfer of PDAF to NGOs in the current case appeared to be illegal.

The former trial court judge said the transfer appeared to have skirted a provision of the Government Procurement Reform Act and the NGOs failed “miserably” to comply with the requirement that they should have a track record and be financially stable.

Specifically, she said the submission for the past three years of audited financial statements stamped “received” by the Bureau of Internal Revenue appeared not to have been followed.

“Allow me to emphasize this important principle which in my text appears in bold face: The funds, whether from PDAF or other sources of appropriations, are always released to an implementing agency—which is a department, an agency, or a local government unit—and never to an NGO,” she told the National Student Conference on Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Choosing an NGO should be subject to competitive bidding or through negotiated procurement, and would be the responsibility of the agency head, not the lawmaker, the senator said.

To prevent corruption, it is the job of the agency head to advise lawmakers that choosing a contractor is “illegal,” but this is being done with impunity by lawmakers, according to her.

“When the lawmaker chooses the contractor, that is a crime and a dead giveaway of the lawmaker’s malicious intent to get kickbacks,” she said.

Santiago implied that the crime of plunder—which is defined as the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth in the total value of at least P75 million—could apply in this case.

“If the accused is over 70 years old, his age would be considered a mitigating circumstance. In the case of a convict who is at least 70 years old, he can apply with President Aquino for pardon on the ground that his continued imprisonment would be inimical to his health.  Otherwise, the penalty for life imprisonment does not appear to have any definite extent or duration,” she said.

Fake stories

Without naming him, Santiago blamed an “old” colleague in the Senate for the online publication of news reports implicating her in the pork barrel scam. She said the stories were fake.

“These stories, which very obviously engage in character assassination against me, can only be funded by my arch-enemy.   He is a man who has grown so old in government corruption that I believe he was a waiter during the Last Supper,” she said.

Then she dedicated verses of a poem to her enemies:  “I’m rubber, you’re glue; Whatever you say bounces off me And sticks to you.”

Santiago said her advice to the old man was to get a sex life.

“As a citizen of our republic, like you, I demand justice!  And I demand justice now! Justice delayed is justice denied. Let justice be done, though the heavens fall, though the world perish.

This scandal will be one of the most bloodcurdling crimes in Philippine political history. It should be known as Enrilegate,” she added.

Sought for comment, Enrile waved off his hand, saying “I will not talk about that.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Congress , House of Representatives , Jinggoy Estrada , Juan Ponce Enrile , Miriam Defensor-Santiago , PDAF , Pork barrel , pork barrel scam , Ramon Revilla Jr. , Senate

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace