Bishop asks senators implicated in pork scam to go on leave out of delicadeza
MANILA, Philippines—A Catholic bishop has urged the senators and members of Congress named on the list of government officials who benefited from the P10-billion pork barrel scam to take a break from office for about six months to a year to pave the way for a credible investigation.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said on Wednesday that regardless of whether the lists were truthful or not, these lawmakers linked to the Priority Development Assistance Fund racket must go on leave out of delicadeza.
“All those mentioned in the list must take a leave for at least six months so that there could be an orderly investigation,” said Pabillo, also the chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines public affairs committee, over church-run Radio Veritas on Wednesday.
“As to those who are saying they are innocent, they have to help facilitate an impartial investigation [so] it’s better if they take a leave first so that there could be an impartial investigation that may eventually clear their names,” he added.
He added denials of their involvement would not be enough.
In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Pabillo said senators implicated in the scam but who have professed their innocence should go through the due process of an impartial investigation to clear their names.
“How do we know that they are not guilty? Let us investigate you and isn’t it that when government officials are about to be investigated, they should take a leave first?” he pointed out.
He also urged lawmakers who dipped their hands into the national coffers to admit their wrong doings. “We call on those who committed an offense to come out already,” said the prelate.
He also said that the Senate must stop investigating the scandal and let the Office of the Ombudsman, if it were really independent, to take action.
At least 25 senators were included in the list provided by whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Meanwhile, the list supposedly provided by Napoles to rehabilitation czar and former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, identified 11 former and incumbent senators and 69 members of the House of Representatives.
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