Senate taking its sweet time on plan to probe pork scam
MANILA, Philippines—Senators on Monday agreed to defer a plan to look into the alleged malversation of P10 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers in the past 10 years until after government agencies had completed their investigations.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, made the announcement after an afternoon caucus called on the issue.
Guingona said a “consensus” was reached that the “image, reputation and integrity” of the Senate would be compromised if the senators insisted on a parallel investigation.
Sen. Francis Escudero had filed a resolution calling for an investigation into the PDAF scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Earlier reports said at least five senators had allegedly allowed their PDAF to be released to bogus nongovernment organizations led by Napoles.
Escudero said he wanted the investigation done if only to show that the Senate was capable of transparency and was not just an “old boys’ club.”
Earlier, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the National Bureau of Investigation should be allowed to complete its investigation on Napoles.
Guingona said senators present during the caucus wanted the NBI, Department of Justice and Commission on Audit to release their reports on the matter first. Only when there is dissatisfaction among the ranks would senators again meet to decide whether to heed the Escudero resolution.—Cathy C. Yamsuan
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