A boring privilege speechBy Ramon Tulfo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada sent this message across in Wednesday’s privilege speech: Why are they—Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Bong Revilla and himself—being singled out when many other legislators are also involved in the pork barrel scam?
Why was the Commission on Audit (COA) selective in mentioning their names when a lot of other senators and House members also partook of the unhealthy pork?
But Estrada’s speech was not convincing—it was even boring—as it did not have the bite and punch that people had anticipated.
They expected to hear an earth-shaking exposé but were disappointed.
Some who had prior knowledge of the central theme of the speech—the supposed bribery of senators who voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona—didn’t see it as bribery since it came after they voted “yes.”
The P50 million in additional pork barrel for the senators who convicted Corona came from the Palace, according to Estrada.
It did not sound like a bribe, as Senator Jinggoy would have the public believe, since the money was given after Corona’s conviction—and not before.
Besides, the P50 million was given not in cash but in the form of additional funding for their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a euphemism for pork barrel.
The money didn’t come from the pocket of President Noy, who lobbied for Corona’s conviction, but from the national budget.
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Anyway, Estrada was right in suggesting that everybody had sinned in the pork barrel mess because they were victims of a flawed system.
Legislators who dipped their fingers into the “bad pork” have no right to accuse others of corruption.
As Senator Jinggoy said: “When they pointed an accusing finger at another they were pointing three fingers at themselves.”
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The senator from San Juan was also right in suggesting that COA resident auditors in the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Department of Budget and Management were as guilty as those involved in the irregular release of the PDAF.
Resident auditors can prevent the release of some funds from government offices by just saying they are unauthorized.
Many COA auditors amass unexplained wealth because they are in cahoots with corrupt officials of government agencies where they are assigned.
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It’s been more than a month since this column exposed the five-story structure on Santolan Road, Quezon City, which poses danger to residents in the area.
But Mayor Herbert Bautista continues to ignore calls to stop the continued construction of the building.
This column’s exposé on the building was followed by news and column items in other newspapers, as well as radio and TV commentaries.
The building will topple over shanties in the neighborhood in the event of a moderately strong earthquake as the structure is being built without the benefit of an engineer’s expertise.
It seems Quezon City has a mayor who’s deaf and dumb.
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