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House still won’t probe pork scam—Barzaga

/ 04:28 PM May 12, 2014

Majority member Elpidio Barzaga PHOTO from www.congress.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines—The House majority is not yet willing to change its previous decision not to conduct its own probe on the pork barrel scam, majority member Elpidio Barzaga said on Monday.

He made the statement even as both the independent and minority members in the House of Representatives vouched their support for their own investigation in the scam as their Senate counterpart has done.

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“There are no supervening factors that would alter our decision,” Barzaga said.

He added that the minority and independent blocs’ moves to open an investigation are futile if the House majority leadership is not willing to.

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“The members of minority as well as the independent cannot demand. It’s the tyranny of the numbers,” Barzaga said.

He added that the House majority would rather not open its probe because the Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation are already conducting their probe.

He added that a House investigation would only “muddle” the issue.

“There is a greater reason not to pursue an investigation,” Barzaga said.

Barzaga also said a House probe would not be prudent because they would be investigating their peers in the chamber.

“We do not want to conduct an investigation because the people will say there will be no impartial investigation because those to be investigated are our own peers,” he said.

The pork barrel scam is an elaborate scheme of diverting the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) allegedly to the bogus organizations of Napoles for kickbacks among the businesswoman, lawmakers and other government officials.

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At the House, among those accused of involvement in the scam were former members: incumbent Masbate Governor and former Masbate Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, former APEC Rep. Edgar Valdez, former Agusan Del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, former Benguet Rep. Samuel Dangwa, and former Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula.

While the Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against the senators in the scam, it has yet to release its resolution on the former House members.

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TAGS: Elpidio Barzaga, House of Representatives, investigation, pork barrel scam
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